Friday, February 19, 2010

Conquering 3-Gate Zealot

Well, I finally beat the 3-Gate Zealot build. That's less of an accomplishment than it sounds, as the metagame may be shifting away from that as people start to understand the game. But I'll take it.

I forget the name of the map it was on. But it was a 4-player map, with two pairs of spawn locations near each other. Kinda like Lost Temple, but that wasn't the map.

Looking at the replay, I'm not sure exactly why he went for the build the way he did. Not being a Protoss player, I can't say for sure what tech patterns work and what don't.

In any case, my Overlord scouted him before his Gateway even started. I was in the middle of my standard build (14-pool, 2 Drones, Overlord, Drone, Zerglings+Queen) when I saw the second Gateway go down. So I knew what was coming.

I also knew that Roaches or Banelings would be far, far away. Not to mention any Tier 2 tech. So I went for something else: Spine Crawlers. I put three of those down, two early on with a third added later as my Zergling army built.

At the same time, I used extra money to throw down an extractor and get a Roach Warren. They may not arrive in time to save me, but I'd need them after the initial phase was over.

Things go as predicted. A team of Zealots enter the base and quickly back off; he's good enough to know when he's out-matched. However, they do erect a solid contain. Without marching Creep over to him, I don't have a shot at pushing them out without Roaches.

The other thing I did was take 4 Roaches worth of gas and invest in a Lair. Getting Roach speed is pretty important when dueling Zealots. You can kite them if you have speed. This delays my breakout, theoretically.

Unfortunately, in reality, I throw my Zerglings at the contain, expecting them to somehow break it. Um... they didn't.

I'm stupid sometimes.

However, the good thing about Zerglings is that they don't cost much. And they weren't exactly integral to my defense, because by then, I had my Roach production going. Also, they didn't die in vane, because it made him cocky.

So even gross stupidity can work itself out in the end.

After melting my Zerglings, he holds off his alive-but-damaged group of Zealots until reinforcements arrive. At that point, I get the impression that he decided that I'd held him off, so he was teching. He dropped a Forge and a Robo Facility.

That was when I decided that he needed to die.

Effectively, we had switched places. That is, I was rushing him. He Zealot rushed, but failed. I countered with a Roach rush.

However, he didn't see it coming. When I threw away my Zerglings, he figured he could just contain and tech. 8 Roaches taught him otherwise; they devoured his Zealots. And, like a good StarCraft player, I sent them straight into his base, and started rallying Roaches there.

We did some micro dancing at his ramp, and he even pushed my Roaches back after a little mis-micro on my part. But my next Queen-forged brood of Roaches was arriving to turn the tide. And then I gutted his base.

In the end, I found out that he actually out-resourced me, with almost 2x the number of workers I had. That's why I say we exchanged places; I was all-in. He lost because he had the wrong tech and was doing the wrong thing.

I have no idea what it was he wanted to build with that Robo bay, as he never did anything with it. I suspect that he was going to flank me with a Phase Prism, knowing how vulnerable the Zerg are to air attacks. But once he saw my Roach production, he knew it was all over.

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