Dealing with a 3 Hatch opening in PvZ

I’m playing random on HotS right now until I figure out my best race. I’m feeling okay with all of the match ups, except PvZ. Gosh, I just have no idea what’s going on. I know that I need to open with a fast expand as Protoss, but the Zerg just goes up to 3 bases when they see that. And then a few minutes pass, and all of a sudden, an army of arbitrary composition but immense size rolls up and kills me.

The problem is that I don’t know what I’m to do from about 4:00 to 12:00. Pros do Stargate openings, so maybe that? Oh, but I should take a 3rd base at some point. How much army do I need? Maybe I should poke with my 1 Zealot, 1 Stalker, and 1 MsC. It’s pretty disastrous.

Thankfully, I’m currently watching Apollo’s Protoss Tutorials REVAMPED from WoL, and he has an excellent video showing what I think is the prototypical Protoss play against 3 bases. Admittedly, I haven’t watched enough PvZ in HotS to know if things have changed a lot, but I’m inclined to believe that things haven’t changed too much yet.

So check out this game (24:00 into the 2nd Protoss video), with the build order written out below. The keys here are timing attacks. First, he goes in with 4 Zealots and 4 Stalkers with +1 attack around 8:15 (you can even add the Mothership Core too). It doesn’t look big, but I’m certain that the early pressure is very important. At my level, I think Zerg knows to get to 3 bases, but they have difficulty knowing how to time aggressive Droning and enough defense. Second, he goes up to Colossi and attacks around 15:00, which is slightly earlier than classic deathball pushes. This timing might have changed as Zerg are looking to get to Hive sooner with Roach/Hydra/Viper, so let me know if that doesn’t work out as well.

The build order writeup is a little sketchy, but it’s a good outline. Just watch the game: it’s only about 11 minutes of real time.

Apollo’s Prototypical PvZ from WoL (Oct 2012)

  • 9 Pylon
  • 11 Chrono into probes
  • 16 Nexus
  • 16 Forge
  • 16 Pylon (resume Probe production + Chrono)
  • 20 Cannon
  • 21 Assimliator x2
  • 26 Cybernetics Core
  • 28 Zealot
  • 32 +1 Attack upgrade (with first 100 gas)
  • Warpgate
  • (Sees 3 base)
  • 6:30 Gateway x3
  • 7:10 Assimilator x2
  • Robotics Facility
  • 8:15 attack on 3rd with 4 Zealot/4 Stalker
  • +1 Armor upgrade
  • Observer
  • Sentry x4
  • Immortals
  • 9:30 Gateway x2, Twilight (for more upgrades)
  • 10:30 Nexus at 3rd
  • 11:30 Robotics Support Bay(seeing Reach/Ling), Robotics Facility
  • 13:00 Gateway x3
  • Gateway x4 (shooting for 12 total)
  • 15:00 Attack (timing attack before Hive)

2 thoughts on “Dealing with a 3 Hatch opening in PvZ

  1. I think you failed to mention a delay in probe production in there. After watching the video, he halts probe production after placing the Nexus (2:20ish) but before placing the forge (for wall) and another pylon in the main. He resumes probe production around 3:30ish and follows with a chronoboost on the main…

    • Thanks for the response! I think I just assumed that stopping the Probe production would be obvious since the supply count doesn’t change between the Nexus, Forge, and Pylon, but I’ll put a note in the build order to make that more explicit.

      By the way, if you’re looking for a slightly updated version of this same approach, check out . Apollo explains a game from Mana, and it’s awesome.

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