Polt blog: Defending Against Blink Stalkers TvP

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Recently Terran players are having problems playing against Protoss. There are several factors which make Terran feel difficult for TvP. First of all, Protoss is so strong in late game. Even if there is a possibility of getting harassed or even knocked out by multi-pronged Medivac attacks, if a Protoss player succeeds to make all of 3 splash units – (Archon, High Templar, and Colossus) – it is nearly impossible for a Terran player to defeat a Protoss army. In Heart of the Swarm, a Protoss late game army can be even stronger by adding Tempests. Further still, Protoss have many kinds of units that can do critical damage in early game like blink Stalker, Dark Templar, Oracle, and so on. Blink Stalker all-ins are especially difficult to defend even if the Terran knows it’s coming.

Normally when a player becomes aware that their opponent is preparing some kind of all-in build, the player just thinks how he can defend it well without losing workers or essential buildings. Therefore, a Terran player who has to deal with blink Stalker all-in makes Bunkers, burrows Widow Mines, and is careful of leaving their base. This is a very natural and understandable response because it works really well against many kinds of all-in rushes. However, it does not work well when Terran specifically deals with blink Stalker all-ins. Blink stalkers can easily break through those defenses because it is possible to get rid of Bunkers or avoid Widow Mines without losing any Stalkers. Thus, building a lot of Bunkers or Widow Mines is not an efficient way to defend Blink Stalkers.

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Now lets think about what Terran ultimately needs to shut down blink Stalker all-ins. To be honest, it’s really easy to deal with mass stalkers in the early game. They do not deal splash damage and their individual DPS  is not too strong, meaning the only thing they do well is surviving. Consequently, what Terran needs to defeat blink Stalkers are Marauders with Stim so they can deal enough damage to Stalkers while Medivacs heal in order to out-fight the Stalkers. About 7 marauders defeat 16 stalkers thanks to Medivac’s healing power (as seen in the photo above), therefore the most important thing is to delay the Protoss attack until Terran has enough Marauders with Stim and Medivacs.

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Even though it can be scary facing a Protoss all-in, the proper response is to fight outside. As depicted in the image above, the best scenario is hiding a small army (the red square on the minimap) and counterattacking them because Protoss players usually do not leave any units in their bases to defend. In the case that the Protoss finds the Terran player’s hidden army, it will take a long time to handle it and come back to attack. Also, it is possible to bait Photon Overcharge or Time Warp if Terran can micro well. Just be careful not to pull too much army out.

For a visual example, you can watch a VOD of me vs SKT T1 Classic from IEM Cologne earlier this year:

Hopefully this tip can help Terran players in their ladder games!

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by andre butler, on March 17, 2014