TvP: A Potential Trend with Patch 4.0

Patch 4.0 is here. I want to make a short post about a potential trend in TvP.

Much has been said about how TvP is now in Protoss’ favor on forums. There are several key points being brought up consistently.

  1. Widow Mine nerf is unnecessary.
  2. Chronoboost for Oracle is too strong.
  3. Shield battery is too strong.

I was adamant about the Widow Mine nerf when it was first announced, and many called me out for that. As it stands now, I think the sentiment from the community generally echos what I had said. The justification provided was to make cleaning Widow Mine easier, which does not address a specific problem that is related to Widow Mine. I disagree with what some said about the change being in line with the design rationale of reducing sudden game ending moments, because the first shot has a much higher sudden game ending potential than the reloaded shots. It is just poorly thought out.

Widow Mines are now revealed while Sentinel Missile is on cooldown.

This Widow Mine nerf changes the early game dynamics of TvP. As we all know that, Stargate opening was the most popular opening in the TvP match up, and Terran had come up with different ways to adapt to it. One of them was based on the relatively weak detection of Stargate opening whereby Terran drop Widow Mines in Protoss base to force the Oracle(s) to go back to Protoss base temporarily. This was also the reason Terran used the Cloak Banshee (usually proxy) opening in the mix of builds, and TY specifically used it as a response to Stargate opening in Blizzcon (see vod below).

This change basically allows Protoss to react against Widow Mine drop by pulling Probes away to minimise damage (nothing changes), then just use the Probes to kill the Widow Mines without the need to fly the Oracle back. This further gives Protoss incentive to only use Stargate opening in the match up, and it is against the general design philosophy of giving players choice. In fact, one of the main design goals of Oracle is to address the passive early game of Protoss by giving them an early game offensive unit, and this change may just make it one dimensional again but in a different direction. Now, on top of the above incentive to get Oracle in the match up, the Chronoboost change could potentially enhance the incentive of going for Stargate. You could also argue that the Shield Battery had made Twilight Council tech path stronger, and it is unclear how Shield Battery may change the Protoss tech choice. However, based on the existing changes, Stargate builds only got stronger, and whether other tech options are even stronger is a scary thought for Terran.

The above discussion basically sums up the importance of detection in the TvP early game decision making, and I think the new Ghost may become a viable option now. Ghosts are generally used as a reactive unit in TvZ and TvP against late game units. Specifically in TvP, Ghosts are produced for their EMP ability, which costs 75 energy. The decrease of starting energy from 75 to 50 is a nerf to Ghosts’ value as a reactive unit. The compensation of having Cloak without research does not make Ghosts more valuable in TvP late game, because Cloak is less valuable than a readily available EMP. However, Ghosts could potentially breath new air to the early game of TvP with the Cloak ability, because it could fill the role of Banshee and Widow Mine. Cloaked Ghosts could be sent to Protoss’ mineral line to harass, and that in a way forces Protoss to react accordingly.

Starts with the Cloak ability.
Starting energy decreased from 75 to 50.
New upgrade “Moebius Reactor”
– Research from Ghost Academy.
– Cost: 100 Minerals/100 Vespene Gas/57 seconds.
– Increases starting energy of Ghosts by 25.

The other reason for this trend is the potential shift in TvP builds from tech-oriented to bio-oriented. That means, there should be a decline in 1-1-1 in favor of an earlier Stim upgrade. An earlier Factory is less valuable now for several reasons. First, Widow Mine drop is just bad now. Second, Cyclone is in a weird spot, because you do not need to defend against Pylon Overcharge but it may be used against Oracle. Third, even when Factory is still built after Barracks, Starport may not be the obvious subsequent choice (i.e., 1-1-1). The newer 1-1-1 TvP builds do not rely on Starport much (for example), but it is simply there because there is no better option. Thus, a Ghost Academy, which costs 150 mineral and 50 gas, could be a viable option in the early game in the match up. 2-1-0 has potential, and you produce Ghosts from the Tech Lab Barracks (researching Stim) instead of Marines.

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18 thoughts on “TvP: A Potential Trend with Patch 4.0

  1. Hi Max, hey that is a great idea totally neglected to ghost change. Do you maybe have a game or replay show casing that style?

    Great content on time ;)

      1. Max, very well noted. There are a few GM pros opening Marine-Expand-Ghost Academy-2nd Barracks and it is seeing to work quite well unless Protoss commits hard in killing you with Shield Batteries on your natural.

  2. Nice article. I read your earlier piece where you talked about the widowmines role to force the oracle away from the terran, but it didn’t occur to me that the new ghost might have some uses for this purpose.
    I like the way you think, but I will try going for 3-0-0 with an early stim/concussive push, getting enough marines to stop the earlier (!) oracle. Hopefully, the new stalkers and shield batteries does not prove too strong to defend this push without losses.

  3. Very nice read, love your articles, they are always so well written and thought out!

    Here are my 2 cents:

    I’m normally not the guy that gets angry about balance changes because normally I think a not that of a good player like me (5.3k MMR) shouldn’t complain about balance, but I really don’t understand why Blizzard would do this to us, so this time I have to whine. We got a WM nerf, a Raven nerf, a Ghost nerf and no buffs.

    Protoss got buffed in so many aspect, the oracle is as strong as ever only now you have to worry about it much sooner. A Proxy Oracle can enter your base at 3 minutes which is insane. Stalkers are too strong imo and can snipe your addons before you can even react. DT’s are now way easier to micro, but hey, we can build Ghost and just EMP them, oh wait, we can’t, we have to wait an eternity until it has 75 energy. The Disruptor got an insane buff too, now you don’t have time to dodge the shot, because it can explode instantly when you see it. They nerfed WM drops and instead heavily buffed Disruptor drops. I don’t even want to talk about how strong offensive Shield Battery is.

    All this chances would suggest that Terran was heavily favored against Protoss and needed a nerf, but that just wasn’t the case.

    Everybody says calm down, there will be changes and they will revert some stuff and buff Terran again, but why roll out all this changes in the first place.

    Anyway, rant over and now I feel bad for whining so much :)

    1. Hey, nice read. I agree with most of your post except the raven part. I noticed how well new ravens work against colossus, or when you are going mech. I think that they could possibly replace the viking, but im not sure how that will work since you need tech lab starports – no medivacs. Zerg friends tell me that most of the Terrans on ladder are going mech, maybe we could see something like that for TvP.

  4. Nice job!
    It’s so good how you post amazing content at the right time.
    The ghost idea is great in theory, I’ve tried it but it still seems lacking compared to the oracle harass – they are just slower and less explosive. The shield battery and low ghost energy kinda encourages the protoss player to soak the damage and continue abusing oracles. Tech lab rax can be proxied without much suspition if you go fast 2-1-1, but so can be an oracle.

    1. Yeah, Shield Battery really makes it difficult to have harassment at the mineral line. It is very new, so I will see how things work out. But I am not too positive about it.

  5. Nice article man!
    I tried a variant of 2-1-1 build that is getting me a lot of good wins in TvP using the ghost the way you described. Here is a replay of the ghost build where it can counters the proxy oracle build (not 12 pylon though but I think it could work too): http://drop.sc/replay/5740910

  6. After lotv release, and especially after first adept nerf:

    1 – protoss is the less represented race (27%)
    2 – protoss player have unusual league distribution: they are overrepresented on low leagues compared to other two races, and under represented in gm and master league
    3- aligulac reports still shows protoss as last race performance-wise, you can belive it or not
    4- The majority of tournaments has the same unusual patter: ro32/ro16 full of zergs and terran (meaning those races can access pro player tournaments easly)

    Blizzard heavy changes on protoss races just prove that there is something wrong that they are tryng to fix. Never heard of changes to make easy zerg or terran life, maybe they are easier than protoss?
    Stop the bias man

    1. The suggested evidence does not form a good argument for the potential negative impacts these recent changes have on the match up. As game designers often emphasise, balance changes go beyond just aiming for a 50% win rate. The Widow Mine change is an example of why I am suggesting the changes do not have the intended positive effect. If you assume Blizzard’s changes are evidence for balance, then the same argument could be made on why Blizzard do not make changes earlier when, according to you, Protoss were weak. Does this suggest the no-change from Blizzard imply Protoss were at the right place? The arguments are self-contradicting. Further, assuming Blizzard’s changes are a measurement of balance, their most recent community feedback on an upcoming patch (which will go live in a week) suggest Protoss are too strong, because all Protoss changes are nerf.

      1. I sad my args that are facts you contractiding by saying just saying by contradicting & beating bush No discussion i see here Simply Blizz is unable to do a god job with SC2 & protoss since 2010. It is unable to do whatever thing because he must use community to do anything. Facts are facts that protoss are screwed and SC2 is just a game of zerg & terrs It clearly looks they’re unable to control their own product using community only as support rather than main drive of change.

        Blizz screwed the same with Diablo 3 unbalancing many times several classes there, they screwed a lot WOW too Just because again the main motor of change is community voice rather their own justification. So they are constantly unable to keep release or achieve more & less high quality product.

        Fortunately games like Path of Exile, Marvel Heroes are example high quality products & sooner or later other game studio will release SC2 killer because it already happened to D3 and the market hate weak products.

        Max I will give you an example of other quality of control & approach

        There is a board game called Neoroshima Hex. It is designed by a small but dedicated bunch of people & testers.
        First Version was released at 2009. It that point it had 4 factions in which you have 35 cards per each to fight with with your opponent. Nowadays it has 15 factions. Each of it is very unique & not repeatable with its gameplay & tactics

        You know what ? They havent updated ANY initial or any other of these factions since the beginning / release . And since 5 years there have been tournaments of it Nobody said that some faction is stronger than the other…

        So ….Bliz has no intention to achieve any good state of product because if that would be the case, they’d did that many months ago. Blizz wants to make some change actually doesnt changing anything just keeping attention or focus illusion they care about improving

        So I dont care what Bliz does with SC2.

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