TvP: Current Trend

There are some interesting trends in the Terran versus Protoss match up. This post discusses some noteworthy shift in the metagame over the last few months.

There are three notable changes in Terran build choices. First, there is an increase in one base builds. There are two main openings used in one base builds. The first kind is popularised by TY in his recent successful GSL run, whereby he goes for one base 1-1-1 with an Engineering Bay block at Protoss’ natural (see first vod below). The second kind is an early wall off at the main ramp, and one base builds are popular follow up options. A Marine Tank push on Ever Dream is particularly strong (see second and third vod below), and this build has won in every game I watched on this map.

The second trend is a decrease in the use of Widow Mine drop. It was once seen as the go-to build that could diverge to various options like 3-1-1 and third Command Centre. I did not do a tabulation of the build frequency as there was no premium event that spanned over a weekend recently. However, the decrease in Widow Mine drop is notable among pro players. On one hand, the decrease in Widow Mine drop coincides with the increase in build diversity, and this is consistent with the increase in various one base builds. On the other hand, it is the results of several metagame adaptations. Terran players need to adjust their builds against two base pressure such as the four Gateways Blink Stalkers build popularised by PartinG. Siege Tanks are usually the answer, and a Widow Mine drop delays the production of Siege Tanks. In order to have the Siege Tanks ready against the pressure builds, it would be risky to produce three units from the Factory before adding a Tech Lab. The current understanding is that Widow Mine drop is valuable if you drop at least two Widow Mines, so the intuitive choice would be to make two Widow Mines and then build a Tech Lab for Siege Tanks (an example). This would then mean you do not have the luxury of making a Hellion for scouting. Thus, against Twilight Council tech, Terran players often get a Hellion then go straight for Siege Tank and Raven (see below vod for an example). With this in mind, the value of Starport (i.e., 1-1-1) in the early game drops, as you only make a Raven or a Viking (vs. Stargate). This leads to the next point.

The third trend is the increase in builds that delay the Starport. This usually involves getting the third Command Centre after the Factory on one gas, and this is followed up by either a Starport (delayed; first two vods below) or a Barracks (third vod below).

As mentioned earlier, if you do not produce Medivac, the main purpose of Starport is to produce a Raven or a Viking for defensive purposes. While these are good options, Terran could afford to delay the Starport in favor of a faster third Command Centre. Getting a faster third Command Centre before the second and third Barracks has been the mainstream option for quite some time. I believe this trend is going persist as the early-to-mid game in TvP is relatively passive now. Blizzard’s recent balance discussion has also reinforced this idea:

“A lot of trends we’ve noticed and much of the feedback we’ve received on this matchup focus on the early game. Early tank pushes have become less powerful and less common due to Battery Overcharge. Widow Mine drops with a fast Armory is a new opening that has popped up with mixed success.”

I was using the 3-1-1 Stim timing (usually with Siege Tanks) at Protoss’ third Nexus as the basis to assess various issues of the match up last year. Similarly, Blizzard had also made quite a number of changes that specifically address the dynamic of this timing attack (e.g., Marauder buff). As suggested by Blizzard, the reason behind the decreasing popularity of such timing attack is the defender advantage with Battery Overcharge. The defender advantage enlarges when Disruptors are later added into the main army. Similarly, Terran now constantly produce Siege Tanks through out the game, and it is difficult for Protoss to attack the opponent that is defending. All these factors contribute to a situation whereby neither sides can initiate a battle effectively.

The constant production of Siege Tanks is interesting. In the past, Siege Tanks are only produced in the early game for defensive purposes or used for timing attack with bio (assuming it’s not mech). Terran would then switch to Widow Mine production in the mid game, because Widow Mines perform better than Siege Tanks against Zealots in attack. Now, however, Terran players now replace Widow Mines with Siege Tanks to fit the defensive play style. Ghosts become the main support weapon against Zealots. The aggressive style of bio with Widow Mines is countered by Disruptors, and this is well illustrated in the vod below. The MMMM composition did pretty well until the Disruptors were added into the mix.

Dark Templar with Shadow Stride is the in thing now. Dark Templars and Zealots form a mobile hit and run army to pull Terran out of position in a defensive metagame. A Planetary Fortress and a few Siege Tanks are not enough to hold against a group of Dark Templars with Shadow Stride. I have seen TY adding multiple Planetary Fortress for defense because of this. Dark Templars also do well in late game by blinking on top of bio, because most units would be sniped by the time Terran could react.

Overall, the whole match up feels very different from what we have seen in the last few years. The recent changes to Protoss air units might shake things up a little too.

Shout out to Marc for the continuous generous support! Thank you!

This article is translated and posted on scboy.com by 绝迹.


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