TvP: Versus Early Proxy Tech – Oracle and Immortal

Protoss often proxy their tech building early on for an attack, and Terran lose the game immediately when they are not prepared well. This post discusses the response toward the two mainstream proxy tech builds.

Problem

Protoss can proxy a tech building early on by placing the second Pylon close to opponent’s base, and this is done by delaying the second Nexus (read this for more information). The attack has huge potential to end the game, and Terran must response correctly. However, while defending a specific attack is a challenge itself, knowing what type of attack it is is another problem. As discussed in another post previously, proxy itself has a metagame, because the plausible attack options require different response.

The two mainstream proxy attacks are

  • Stargate – Oracle (with Pylon Overcharge)
  • 2x Robotic Facility – Immortal

It is difficult to know which tech path the Protoss player has chosen, because both take two gas geysers and only have one Pylon in base. One telling sign that it is an Oracle with Pylon Overcharge is that there is an early Mothership Core in production, and you can tell by looking at the animation on the Nexus (see image below for comparison).

However, when Protoss do not make a Mothership Core, you still do not know whether it is a Stargate or two Robotic Facility. The vod below shows how Maru was caught off guard when he could not scout the proxy, and had to assume it was proxy Oracle. He got destroyed by the Immortals. Therefore, there are three problems against early proxy tech.

  1. Know that it is a proxy tech build.
  2. Figure out what the tech path is.
  3. Response correctly.

It is not hard to know that it is a proxy tech build if you send a Scv to scout at 17 or 18 supply. You should look for the following signs.

  • No Nexus at the natural (1:20~1:30)
  • Two gas geysers taken
  • One Pylon in base

If the map has more than two spawn locations, it is difficult for opponent to proxy “well” too. How luck affects the game based on spawn locations is beyond the scope of this post, and I will limit my discussion to only two spawn locations maps.

Key timing

Stargate

Pylon Overcharge: ~3:00
Oracle: ~3:15

Read more about Pylon Overcharge rush here. See below vod for an example.

2x Robotic Facility

Two Immortal: ~3:45
Three Immortal: ~4:00
Warp Prism: ~4:20

See below vod for an example (also the first vod above).

Response

I want to be very clear. This is my response toward a proxy tech build, and it may not be the optimal way. Please share your response in the comment if you have other good approaches.

Going back to the three problems I stated above, it takes time to figure out which tech path it is, because you have to scout the building itself. That means, you are playing blind for a period of time, and you have to make the best response with the limited information you have. The set up has to be flexible enough to defend both tech paths.

I will use the most common opening for TvP, which is a Reaper expand into 1-1-1. You can either go with 15 or 16 gas, and the latter is arguably better in TvP (INnoVation uses 16 gas Reaper expand in TvZ and TvP for 1-1-1). You drop down a Reactor immediately after the Reaper for 15 gas, while you get a Marine between the Reaper and Reactor for 16 gas. The Marine comes in handy for scouting the exact proxy tech path. I may do another post about the different Reaper expand opening in the future.

Build order

Core

14 – Supply Depot
16 – Barracks
16 – Refinery
17 or 18 – Scv scout
@100% Barracks – Reaper and Orbital Command

The Scv that was building the Barracks would move to the natural to put down a Command Centre when you have 400 mineral. You should have just scouted the three signs when you are about to have 400 mineral. Move the Scv back in main base, and put down the Command Centre in the main base instead after you have seen the three signs. It is not wise to go full on defence by not expanding when you do not even know what could be on the way.

Park the scouting Scv near the Nexus to see whether there is a Mothership Core in production when Cybernatics Core is completed. After confirming whether there is a Mothership Core, hide the scouting Scv behind Protoss’ natural mineral line.

@400 mineral – Command Centre (place in main base)
@100 mineral – Supply Depot
@100% Reaper – Marine

Send the Reaper to scout for the proxy building.

@100 gas – Factory
@75 mineral – Refinery
@100% Marine – Reactor (Constant Marine production)

Send the Marine to scout for the proxy building.

Everything above is same as a normal Reaper expand build except the location of the Command Centre. Let say you have yet scouted the proxy building, and you have to assume both tech paths are possible.

@125 mineral – Use the scouting Scv to build an Engineering Bay to block Protoss’ natural Nexus. This is an old trick that I have proposed more than four years ago.

Do not upgrade your Command Centre to Orbital Command when it is completed, because you need the mineral for defensive structures.

By now you should have scouted the proxy tech path. The following reaction is based on scouted tech path. If you have good multitasking skill, you can send the Reaper to Protoss’ base to kill Probes.

Versus 2x Robotic Facility

@100% Factory – Tech Lab, Bunker, and Starport
@100% Tech Lab – Siege Tank
@100% Starport – Viking
@100% Siege Tank – Siege Tank

Pull Scvs to the Bunker once you have started the Viking, because you want the Scvs to be already at the Bunker when Protoss start the attack with two Immortals. The Bunker should be placed in such a way that it is just in range of the ramp, so that it cannot be attacked by two Immortals at the same time.

The Siege Tank should appear just before the third Immortal joins the battle, and you should place it safely that it can hit the Immortal but not the other way round. It should also cover the area where the Immortals may be elevator dropped at the edge of your base. You should build more Bunkers accordingly.

The Viking should be out just before 4:20, which is very important against the Warp Prism (arrives at 4:20~4:25). I recommend dropping a Tech Lab on the Starport when you can afford to for Banshee, because it is a great follow up response since Immortal cannot shoot up.

Download the replay here.

I actually did not executed the build well in the replay. For example, I pulled the Mule onto the Refinery, but it is good enough to illustrate the idea.

Versus Stargate

@100% Factory – Cyclone
@100% Engineering Bay – Missile Turret at the mineral line

The Missile Turret completes at 3:15, which is exactly when the earliest possible proxy Oracle would hit. Position your Marines and Cyclone near the Missile Turret to prevent them from getting picked off by the Oracle.

Protoss usually transition out of this build by expanding, and the Engineering Bay prevents the Nexus to be placed at the natural. Protoss have to either go all-in, or build the Nexus elsewhere.

Don’t overextend by trying to fight the Pylon Overcharge at your main entrance. I think it is okay trade your two Supply Depot and Reactor for Protoss’ Pylon Overcharge attack, as you cannot do much about it anyway.

Download the replay here. I just take command from the above replay at 2:50, so everything is the same before that. This is also to demonstrate that the core response is the same.

This is my take on the problem, and you may have a better one. Please share it in the comment, so I can learn from it. Thank you.

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6 thoughts on “TvP: Versus Early Proxy Tech – Oracle and Immortal

  1. Congratulations Max, i have a question in vs Stargate situation.
    What u thing about in 100% factory – mine, nit cyclone and 100% Starport – medivac and go to drop. The trick with EB is same, with turrets on mineral line.
    I thing that in this case the protoss must retreat the oracle to reveal mine.

    1. Widow Mine is inferior for several reasons.
      1. It is unreliable, but it is great if you can pull it off.
      2. The Adept may be able to trigger it.
      3. Cyclone is better against Adept and Pylon.
      4. There is a counter push potential once you have produced three Cyclones and defended the attack.

      It is difficult to go straight into a Widow Mine drop, because it is hard to defend with just Marines against Adept, Mothership Core, and Adept.

  2. All of this goes off of the assumption that you SCV scout every game vs P in order to catch the 1 game out of 10 in which you are faced with a proxy build, which is unreasonable because having an SCV scout hinders the 111 build. How would you react to a proxy build assuming 16 gas 111?

      1. I mean if you didn’t SCV scout and therefore sent the reaper across the map to check for expo and significantly delaying your confirmation of Stargate or Robo, how would you react based on the delayed scout?

        1. I see now. I misunderstood you previously. Without the Scv scout, the Reaper either is sent straight to Protoss’ base to scout, or search for proxy at common areas first. Let say, you go straight to opponent’s base and figure out that Protoss appear to have proxy. You have to send another Scv to scout one side of the map, and the Reaper to the other side of the map for the proxy. It is very likely you have to roll your dice, and I would usually assume it is Stargate.

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