Defend against proxy Oracle

Oracle

Let’s face it. Every Terran has lost to a proxy Oracle build before, and that includes the professional players. Many have asked me about how to response to a proxy Oracle, so here it is.

The build is stoppable if you have scouted it early enough.

Scout the build

The first step is to scout and realise that opponent is likely to have a proxy Stargate somewhere. Protoss need to have two geysers up early, and proxy the second Pylon. If you do a standard 14 or 15 supply scout, you should be able spot these signs.

While having two geysers taken is a telling sign, it is important to look at the number of Probes mining gas. It requires a total of six Probes to mine gas for this build, and Protoss may actually be doing a Mothership Core expand with four Probes mining from two geysers. Moreover, there are other plausible builds apart from proxy Stargate even if you have scouted six Probes mining gas. Read more about TvP scouting here.

Sometimes Protoss may pull a Probe off the geyser when the Scv is approaching one of the geysers to fake that there aren’t six Probes mining. Also, if you didn’t see the second Pylon, it maybe hidden at the natural to fake it.

However, this build is usually not used on a two player map because it is easily scouted based on the signs suggested above. Thus, this is popular on a three player map, which allows Protoss to proxy the Stargate at a location that is near to either of the two spawning point of Terran. Below is an example of the build executed by Zest against INnoVation on a three player map.

Sometimes Protoss may roll the dice and do it on a four player map, and it is likely that Terran do not scout it in time to prepare. Classic did just that against Dream recently in the SSL final game 3.

What you need to defend

Missile Turret and Bunker.

A Missile Turret should be built at the mineral line, and a Bunker should be built at the top of the main ramp. The purpose of the Missile Turret is self-explanatory. The Bunker, on the other hand, is something that many players don’t build against such build, and it can easily be the reason for defeat (myself included). Protoss do not only send the Oracle over, they will for sure bring a Stalker across to force the Marines out of position. If the Marines go after the Stalkers intuitively, the Oracle will just come in and kill them. The vod between Zest and INnoVation above shows how it is done.

Despite the fact that some people have been suggesting building a bunker at the mineral line, I have yet to see a professional player doing that. One reason is the combination with the Stalker, as it is hard to have enough Marines in the Bunker to deter the Oracle and combat the Stalkers at the same time. The Oracle and Stalker can camp at the Barracks, and things may snowball out of control. One benefit of having the Bunker over Missile Turret is to ensure that the mineral line is protected by 5:00 (Engineer Bay then Missile Turret takes more time). 5:00 is the earliest possible time for an Oracle to hit your base on extreme proxy location, or else it should reach at around 5:15. The vod below shows how helpless Dream was against Classic even though he did the textbook style reaction I stated, because the Oracle hits at 5:00 and the Missile Turret barely doesn’t complete. So dirty.

Generally, the Missile Turret should be up just in time like the vod below.

How to set up the defence

As mentioned earlier, you need a Missile Turret and Bunker at the right place. However, it’s not as simple as that in an actual game as you need to interrupt your build to get these structures up, and they cost 325 mineral altogether. Different builds need to react differently (I’ve a list here).

Reaper expand into three Barracks

This build requires you to pull Scvs off the geyser in order to have enough mineral to put down additional Barracks. Instead of spending the 300 mineral on the two more Barracks, you should use it on the Engineering Bay and Bunker (then Missile Turret). You can then move back to the build order by putting two Barracks down after you have more mineral.

Reaper expand into tech

This is the more common build nowadays. Since Scv will just keep mining gas for the Factory at the point you scouted the build, you need to pull them off the geyser in order to have enough mineral to have those defensive structures. You can pull two to three Scvs off gas temporarily to squeeze out the mineral for defence, and put them back in after you have the structures up. The vods above did exactly this.

Command Centre first

You can go for additional Barrackrs or tech with Command centre first, just like how Reaper expand works based on the building blocks logic. In contrast to the Reaper expand opening, there is usually a Bunker in place at the natural already by default against normal Stalker front door micro, and hence, you only need to build the Engineering Bay in reaction. You can basically do the same reaction as the Reaper expand depending on whether you have already started mining gas. If you tech, pull Scvs off gas. If you go for more Barracks, delay the third Barracks (or Refinery if you go for two Barracks into gas).

Engineering Bay block

As you know, Terran occasionally put down an Engineering Bay at the natural of the Protoss to delay the Nexus. The Engineering Bay does not complete because you want to cancel it at the last minute and get back around 100 mineral in return. In response, Protoss usually will start a Zealot for their usual one Gateway expand build, and cancel it if there is no Engineering Bay blocking. Let say Protoss is doing the proxy Stargate build, and you put down an Engineering Bay at Protoss’ natural. There will not be a Zealot coming down to hit the Engineering Bay, and you will have scouted the build based on the signs mentioned above. Consequently, your Scv is safe and sound, and you should complete the “proxy” Engineering Bay as part of your defensive set up instead of building another one at your base. In fact, I have discussed this before exactly two years ago.

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2 thoughts on “Defend against proxy Oracle

    1. You need exactly 6 Marines to defend an Oracle in a straight up fight without external obstruction, and you only have two to four Marines at that time if it’s a Reaper opening. Proxy Oracle hits too early for a Widow Mine to be in place.

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