StarCraft® II

[PvZ Build] 2-base Mothership Expand

Build Order (not exact in replays)
Note: This is a forge expand opener that relies on Zerg taking a 3rd before producing many/any units. This is standard macro PvZ. If you do not scout a 3rd base by no later than 5:00, put 3 extra cannons down, chronoboost 2-3 sentries, patrol for nydus play and expect an all-in. Don't blindly run this build because you will die to several types of all-ins without adjustment.
9 Pylon
*Chrono Nexus*
13 Forge
*Chrono Nexus*
*Chrono Nexus*
17 Nexus
17 Cannon
17 Gateway
17 Pylon
18 2x Assimilator
(Spend available chronoboost on probes for quite a while)
Core @ 100% Gateway
Transfer probes to Natural (8 or so)
Stargate at 100% Core
Pylon
2x Assimilator
Void Ray at 100% Stargate (chrono hard)
Sentry --Keep at wall all game long to stop Roach/Ling/Baneling runbys--
2x Pylon
Fleet Beacon
Void Ray #2
1 Phoenix
2nd Stargate
A few Pylons
Add two or three Cannons
Mothership (chrono hard)
+1 Air Attack
Warpgate

Use your first Void Ray to patrol around your base and kill overlords. You can clear watchtowers and stuff if you want too. You can be a little aggressive about poking at their base to try to make them to waste drones on spores, but don't commit to any sort of attack with your Void Rays.

Take a 3rd base and protect it with Cannons, Void Rays (8-10) and the Mothership. Follow this up with Zealot/Archon on about 16 gateways (3 fully mining bases) and Charge. Continue to research both air and ground attack upgrades until you are at +3. There are many circumstances in which you should attack, stay home, harass, etc, and I'll cover that in the next section.

Once you get about maxed on Zealot Archon, take a 4th base. During this time, you can choose to either hit a timing with a strong and aggressive army and rely on the Mothership to get a big vortex, or you can stay home and dump a few Zealots at a time in order to switch supply into Carriers. Most of the time, attacking at this point is a good idea if you had favorable engagements throughout the game. It's very important that if you attack with this, as soon as your Zealots are dead, GO HOME and use Warp Prisms to harass around the map. Don't attack into his main unless you know you can win.. just use this timing to kill as many newly mining bases as possible. This timing is not designed to win the game.. it is merely to make him burn Infestor energy and cripple his economy.

When your 4th base is building, find time to add on ~3 extra Stargates (bringing to you ~5), and a Robo. The Robo is simply for Observers and Warp Prisms as needed.

As you lose supply (hopefully only Zealots) fill it back up with Carriers. If you lost Archons or Templar, prioritize those. Try to keep his economy crippled by killing drones or new expansions around the map.

Ideally, the end game is about 10 Carriers, 6-8 Archons and the rest of the supply in Templar. The Mothership is actually not all that useful in the deep late game, because of Neural Parasite. This composition, if controlled correctly, should be able to straight up fight huge Brood Lord + Infestor armies. Use Templar energy primarily to feedback Infestors, use the Archons to splash on Corrupters.

The win condition for this should be him attacking into you and failing because he has no economy. Don't be overly eager about engaging into spines and spores because there's no need if you can just bleed him out anyway.

Anyway, more information below.


Replays
http://drop.sc/275486 - Pretty good execution. Took a 4th base too late, and should not have attacked the 2nd time (lost everything and almost lost the game). Otherwise, this was a good win vs what I think is a smurf of a fringe-GM Zerg.
Edited by Sidewinder on 11/14/2012 11:07 AM PST
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In this section I am going to explain the purpose of every element of the build:

Mothership
Cloaking buildings and your army is a huge benefit when most Zergs will not move out with Overseers during their first attack. You will hold a lot of attacks when trying to secure your 3rd base simply because they will attack into a big cloaked wall of Cannons and Void Rays, then go home after losing a good portion of their army for nothing.

During the mid-game, the Mothership can outright end it if you land a good Vortex.

If you lose the Mothership during the game, and if your 3rd base is secure, DO NOT REBUILD IT. It will never have anywhere near the utility it had during the 11-17 minute mark of the game.

Keep the Mothership between the natural and 3rd if they are using a lot of Roach/Ling.. you need it to cloak whatever is being attacked, or to land defensive vortexes. If you are facing Spire, keep the Mothership in your main mineral line along with 3-4 Cannons to protect against Muta harass.

The Single Phoenix
You need this in order to scout their tech choice on Lair. Playing vs Spire is much different than playing against anything else. Don't skip this or Muta builds will very likely kill you. If they are opening Infestor, you can sit this on a common travel path to see when he is moving across the map. If he wants to kill it, he has to spend a lot of energy just to kill 1 unit that isn't doing anything anyway.

The Single Sentry
Tons of Zergs will recognize how much effort you are putting into immobile units to protect your 3rd base, and they will try to bust your natural wall instead. The sentry buys a lot of time and shuts down a lot of stupid harassment attempts that could otherwise deal a ton of damage.

~8 Void Rays
You need these in order to protect against huge Roach numbers, or people that will use Corrupters in order to kill your Mothership. They do reasonably well against everything, and the best part is that their usefulness lasts the entire game. Using Void Rays to snipe Overseers is almost instant and really useful.

Cannons (lots of them!)
These are the best DPS-units that you can afford while not interrupting Void Ray or Mothership production. Sure, it will look like you have hardly any supply while taking your 3rd, but that doesn't mean you're in bad shape. Not dying while taking the 3rd and giving your army smooth transition points into the late game is the entire theme of this opener. You won't max out as quickly, but it's much safer to use Cannons instead of gateway units to get your 3rd safely established.

Archons and Zealots
The Archons are specifically to hit Corrupters that clump up while trying to attack your Mothership. Zealots and Archons in a vortex are a zillion times more cost-effective than they would be without a Vortex. Shreds Zerglings... much more utility than just Stalkers.

Heavy Stargate Commitment
This is the only way to reliably fight in late-game PvZ. You need heavily upgraded air units, Storms, and Archons, or else Zerg's ultimate army will almost always roll you over.

Single Robo
Useful to put out an observer or two in order to prevent burrowed Infested Terran spam. In the late game, it's good to include multi-pronged Zealot harassment in order to bleed Zerg out.

+3 Air and +3 Ground Attack
Carriers with +3 Air are incredible, especially against Brood Lords that are typically not heavily upgraded as quickly as the Carriers are. +3 Ground Attack is obvious, even though it only benefits the handful of Archons you'll have in the deep late-game. It's worth it to have that extra damage against Corrupter clumps.
Edited by Sidewinder on 11/9/2012 6:24 PM PST
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Required Adjustments

No 3rd base at ~5:00
You must absolutely put up extra cannons, at least 2 sentries and patrol your base for a Nydus. Most of the time, it's not actually worth resuming the build because 2-base Muta will wreck your !@#$. So, basically, if it's not passive 3-base macro from Zerg, abandon the build.

3-base Spire
I mentioned this in the Mothership details, but this needs to be re-iterated because of how important it is. If you scout 3-base Spire, add cannons at every mineral line. Leave the Mothership in the main base over the cannons at that mineral line, and have the Void Rays help protect the 3rd. Start cannons at the 3rd before you start the Nexus. Prioritize Storm over Archons and once you have Storm, keep a Templar at each mineral line and move your Mothership back to the rest of your army.

Super Turtle Zerg
If the Zerg just sits on their hands the whole game and makes a zillion spines, I wouldn't attack unless you've already won a battle. Your best bet is going into a deep macro game and multi-pronged harassment with Warp Prisms and Zealots while replacing supply with Carriers. Again, your win condition here is just denying bases and making him attack into you.

Against Runby Attempts
Your best bet is to position your Mothership between the 2nd and 3rd base so you can recover to either area quickly. Simply cloaking cannons and focusing overseers will prevent a lot of dumb losses from Zerg that simply won't fight you. When you open your wall, always keep at least 1 sentry there to forcefield and keep stuff out of your main and 2nd base.

Other options based on preference

Using Recall / Protecting the Mothership
When the Mothership gets to full energy, it's not a bad idea to put her on a hotkey and send your fleet of Void Rays out to harass. If you can kill a hatchery, some tech, or whatever, it's worth it if you can recall before losing too much or anything. While attacking and taking a 4th base, you can keep your Mothership home and recall as soon as your Zealots are dead, to assure that you trade reasonably well while not losing any important units.

Incorporating Robo Units
If you want, you can push with 4-6 Immortals to make it harder for Zerg to stop the timing with Roach reinforcements, or to better break spine walls. Immortals in Warp Prisms later in the game are actually really good for dumping supply and killing tech or hatcheries. The transition into late-game is a little softer, but definitely not harmful enough for me to recommend staying away from it. This is purely a style choice, but it works well.
Edited by Sidewinder on 11/9/2012 9:16 AM PST
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1. you should make 18 nexus, it's better(because you are delaying zerg by putting down a pylon at their natural)
2. transfer up to 6, else your timing is off.
3. 4 voids seems too much, i either go with 3 or 1, pick one, rest are phoenix(they reinforce a lot faster) reason is that voids are slow, and zergs overlords scout a lot faster now.
4. you need gateways so you dont die to some stupid counter attack.
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I think it would be a good idea to mix some phoenix in for some anti-air. More gateways doesn't harm either.
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1. you should make 18 nexus, it's better(because you are delaying zerg by putting down a pylon at their natural)
2. transfer up to 6, else your timing is off.
3. 4 voids seems too much, i either go with 3 or 1, pick one, rest are phoenix(they reinforce a lot faster) reason is that voids are slow, and zergs overlords scout a lot faster now.
4. you need gateways so you dont die to some stupid counter attack.


You can make whatever adjustments you deem necessary in your own games. The order is a refined version from the TL thread about taking a 3rd base with skytoss. Welmu and other high-level players/pros have tried the same exact opener that includes no Phoenix and done well with it. I included notes about Phoenix for the obvious reasons that you'd need them to defend yourself, but you largely want more Void Rays than Phoenix for DPS against people Roaching into you nonstop, and to competently fight Corrupters and protect your Mothership (not to mention kill Brood Lords later in the game). I used to run a very similar build but added Phoenix after a few Void Rays. They never paid off in terms of cost-effectiveness as the game went on. I want long-term, peak efficiency gas spending in this build, rather than making gas-heavy units that have a useful window of about 4 or 5 minutes, then are completely worthless after that (Phoenix and Sentries, namely).

The problem with said TL thread is that their recommended transition is Carriers on 3-4 Stargates, which just isn't very good because Void Rays are poor support for Carriers. I instead transition into a really fast, aggressive ground army that basically instantly kills if the Zerg gets a bad trade, rather than slow Carriers where they can almost endlessly customize their unit composition to answer well.. especially if you have a bunch of supply invested in Void Rays that really don't do a good job of helping Carriers out.

I also have gateways. They are in the build order. They should be done by the time you start your 3rd.

And I prefer to transfer more probes than less since it's at a time where I'm only making probes anyway (won't delay anything), and I want more balanced saturation to keep my main mining longer, so I don't have to take a 4th base until like 18 or 19 minutes, instead of 16 or 17. Transferring hard early in the game goes a long way.

Oh, and as for pylon blocking, I'm not a big fan of it. Most Zergs just run the drone straight to their 3rd nowadays. The 17 Nexus times out really well with everything else that needs to happen.. I'd prefer to keep it that way. Again, you can adjust however you want.
Edited by Sidewinder on 7/5/2012 6:23 PM PDT
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Replays are up.
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Excellent. I'll try it this weekend.
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any replay vs roach hydra timing push?
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07/06/2012 02:02 PMPosted by ACIDCYCLONE
any replay vs roach hydra timing push?


Not sure. I just threw stuff up there that was against decent opponents with a build order that is similar to what is written.

There's only a tiny tiny window in which a push like that should kill you, assuming you micro well, and that timing is when the Mothership has just spawned and isn't at 100 energy. It would basically assume the Zerg player had about 20 Hydras, too, and hardly any Roaches.

I did have a game against a teammate of mine with this build where he pushed pretty hard with Roach Hydra right as my Mothership spawned and I still held after losing a couple buildings on my natural wall.. no big deal. Most of the time they only bring about 8 Hydras and lose them to Void Rays, then it's your responsibility to fly your MS around and cloak stuff that the Roaches are trying to kill, while your Void Rays clean up and your gateway warp-ins hold reinforcement at the front.

Most Zergs don't bring an Overseer with their first attack either, so they are always fairly helpless when it comes to being able to cause significant damage.
Edited by Sidewinder on 7/6/2012 2:13 PM PDT
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The problem with said TL thread is that their recommended transition is Carriers on 3-4 Stargates, which just isn't very good because Void Rays are poor support for Carriers. I instead transition into a really fast, aggressive ground army that basically instantly kills if the Zerg gets a bad trade, rather than slow Carriers where they can almost endlessly customize their unit composition to answer well.. especially if you have a bunch of supply invested in Void Rays that really don't do a good job of helping Carriers out.


I like transitioning to carriers once I'm on 3 or 4 bases. I think carriers with hts/archons is pretty much unbeatable for zerg. Voids work almost as well but they're much weaker against hydras and more susceptible to fungal growth chains. It takes ages for fungal to kill a carrier.

One thing I've found a little obnoxious about this build is it lends itself to some really long games. I've had several games last >30 minutes with both players mining over 70k resources.
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07/06/2012 02:24 PMPosted by Paiz
I like transitioning to carriers once I'm on 3 or 4 bases. I think carriers with hts/archons is pretty much unbeatable for zerg. Voids work almost as well but they're much weaker against hydras and more susceptible to fungal growth chains. It takes ages for fungal to kill a carrier.


I agree, but you do need to transition to it appropriately. The build on TL goes straight to Carriers, which I think is weak. If you transition to Void Ray, Archon, MS and THEN add a couple Stargates and make Carriers instead of adding Immortals, it can work. But then you are much more reliant on landing Vortexes and keeping Carriers alive. My variation isn't as unstable.. no units really have a high preference of staying alive. It's a bunch of beefy, low-investment units.

The other problem with TLs main variation is the fact that taking a 4th is so hard to do without a strong ground army.

I also like a ton of gateways available, so that if I get a good trade, I can immediately counter with a super aggressive army. Countering with Carriers is quite slow, although it's still strong.

One thing I've found a little obnoxious about this build is it lends itself to some really long games. I've had several games last >30 minutes with both players mining over 70k resources.


Yep. Sometimes the games can go super long. I always like to see the resources lost tab if I get a good Vortex and just crush his army, then win right after (which is what usually happens). It's always like 17k to 4k.. haha.
Edited by Sidewinder on 7/6/2012 2:32 PM PDT
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i feel like the best way to approach this is 2 base mothership rush into 8 gate all in, IM Seed actually beat tlo on ladder with that build ;)
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nice job sidewinter, innovating as always :)
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I just tried this out and won pretty cleanly with it. My opponent pretty much just tried to keep throwing Roaches, Hydralisks and Corruptors at me after he saw the initial four Void Rays, but since I had a Mothership out he couldn't really do much unless he brought like a !@#$ton of Overseers with his army (he brought like three each time he tried to engage me, and they all died in a near instant). He didn't even try to get Brood Lords/Infestors out.
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Motherships should be part of nearly every build. Not all but with mothership core coming out in HoTS, we should start utilizing this unit in every matchup....just my 2 cents.
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thanks man, saving me from losing pvz.

But i have a suggestion though, If the zerg not attack at all and sit back getting huge amount of spines/spores/ corruptors/broodlords/infestors. We should trade immorals and zealots and get carriers.
Edited by ACIDCYCLONE on 7/7/2012 6:14 AM PDT
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thanks man, saving me from losing pvz.

But i have a suggestion though, If the zerg not attack at all and sit back getting huge amount of spines/spores/ corruptors/broodlords/infestors. We should trade immorals and zealots and get carriers.


You can always dump Zealot supply and re-fill with better units. But Warp Prism play once you're maxed will pick him apart and force him to engage eventually :).
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You can always dump Zealot supply and re-fill with better units. But Warp Prism play once you're maxed will pick him apart and force him to engage eventually :).
not really, this master guy that i vsed with( practice game + first try so a lillte sloppy)
he patrol his corruptors around his bases.

And we have to forced him to engage? uhm..
Edited by ACIDCYCLONE on 7/7/2012 8:35 AM PDT
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07/07/2012 08:34 AMPosted by ACIDCYCLONE
You can always dump Zealot supply and re-fill with better units. But Warp Prism play once you're maxed will pick him apart and force him to engage eventually :).
not really, this master guy that i vsed with( practice game + first try so a lillte sloppy)
he patrol his corruptors around his bases.

And we have to forced him to engage? uhm..


WTF is he doing patrolling Corrupters? If he actually has that many, you should just MS recall past his spine wall and kill him.

If you have multiple warp prisms and you are warping in all over the map (and he's on the slow, late-game composition you're talking about), he will lose economy and therefore be forced to use his slow army to attack, or just slowly die.
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