PvP Skytoss difficulty

Hi everyone.

I’ve been having a slight issue in my PvP games where the opponent has gone Skytoss. I’ve found that even if I’m a base ahead or even destroyed a couple of enemy bases (I even destroyed the main base with a drop once), if the opponent has fortified their primary mining base with Shield Batteries, Photon Cannons, Void Rays and building placement that prevents a surround, I can’t break them, and they slowly build up a critical mass (over 10 at times) of Carriers and Void Rays that just destroys everything it comes across. I know the rule of the game here is to ‘not let them get there’, but I’m not sure how to deal with that when they fortify behind static defence. Yes, I’m sure I need to “learn to play”, but are there any tips on how best to approach this?

So far, I’ve tried Archons and Tempests, the former with the intention of destroying the Interceptors with splash damage, but they simply die too quickly even with Shield Batteries backing them up, while with Tempests they get chased down by the Void Rays.

Actually, I’m just curious. If you are P, then wouldn’t you be able to mirror them instead?

What it sounds like is actually you attempting to end the game prematurely (likely cause you want to prevent them from reaching a critical point I guess).

I don’t think this is a feasible strategy for P. This is because although Archons deal splash damage, their attack speed is way too slow. Ever since the ‘Archon Toilet’ strat phased out of meta (with the loss of the Mothership’s Vortex), Archon splash in such cases are no longer relevant.

I think that Tempests are not really in the meta right now, though it is a good counter consideration against Carriers. The key issue with even a Tempest VR composition is that:

  • Carriers VR enable your opponent to have high burst damage, while messing with your units’ targeting (due to interceptors).
  • Tempest VR will win if you can manage to keep kiting your opponent, whereas their composition favours lesser APM (more an A-move style).

So in general, you are in a more unfavourable position.


Counter strategies will include:

  1. Base Race - P generally lacks mobility. If you are able to use Warp-Ins to your advantage (e.g. blink Stalkers), you might be able to force them to keep a significant portion of their army at home for the last few remaining structures. Even a forced Recall is a significant win for you.
  2. Throw & Remax - Since they are massing up a T3 army which isn’t too mobile, you are likely to have a better macro then them. Therefore, another consideration would be to throw your army at theirs, then remax and repeat. This is, of course, assuming that you can at least take out a sizeable chunk of their army in that battle (plus you didn’t lose your production while doing so).
  3. Mirror - As the name suggests, just aim to have the same army composition as your opponent (since it is a good hard counter to pretty much most meta). Then it narrows down to having good engagements and being able to judge whether you can commit to the battle or back away to cut your losses.

If you have a video of the replay (can post a YT video or something), it will be easier to go into detail where are the shortfalls that you may have overlooked.


Thanks for the input. I have a replay, but won’t be able to upload it for a couple of days. Admittedly I might have been a little below par in my performance in part to my opponent constantly bad-mouthing me with “funny noob” - usually when someone is being like that I really want them to lose. In the end I left because I knew for sure that they were just toying with me (i.e. they could instantly destroy me, and knew it, but chose not to).

Sorry for the delay. I’ll post the replay when I’m next able to in a day or two.

Tempests seem like an option, but have to be careful where and when I kite, since if I end up going over one of my bases, it will get destroyed pronto. i did try Psionic Storm at one point too, and it might have worked if I committed more to it since I did get hull damage on the Void Rays, but I lost my army.

Have you tried stalkers…?

I once killed Void Ray/Carriers with Phoenix/Tempest.

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I think pheonix carrier beats void ray carrier, at least thats how it goes in my games

I did in the early game, but they’re not much match for Void Rays over Shield Batteries with their own Stalkers, and once Carriers came out, they just got butchered.

Phoenix/Tempest sounds interesting, especially as the Phoenixes can distract the Interceptors and do decent damage to them, and go toe-to-toe with Void Rays in isolation. It would require a hell of a lot of micro though, with Phoenixes targetting the Void Rays and Tempests targetting the Carriers.

I’ll have the replay up in the next day or so so you guys can cast more informed judgement of my poor performance! I’m at a different location currently so I can’t access StarCraft II as normal (specifically to check which replay file is which).

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If you fight anything under shield batteries, you are already at a disadvantage… You need much more power than them if you are going to punch through shield batteries, and more so if the voidrays are charged up. You need to take fights on the middle of the map and prevent them from taking anymore expansions while you get greedy. Or you can tech up and do the same thing they are.

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Yeah, the problem was that the guy sat back on ONE base for some time (I destroyed the main at one point, but was later retaken) and just refused to move - and when they took the next base, they had their entire army waiting between it and the previous base about to mine out. I managed to deny bases a couple of times, but all that time, the army was growing and growing and wasn’t getting killed until it became an instant wall of death.

I admit my opening wasn’t too good because the opponent did a Forge Fast Expand and I thought I was being cannon-rushed (since I saw the Forge) and so got some fast units out etc.

Here is the replay - sorry it took so long to post here. I couldn’t upload it to gggtracker or drop.sc, possibly because of the new patch that was released.


I’m the blue player starting in the upper right corner if the names are different (played on the EU server).

Well I’m starting to have some success in PvP now, including one interesting game where we both went for Skytoss. Sometimes a chargelot run-by can help if the opponent has gotten lax with Shield Batteries (especially if you attack another location at the same time with your main army), as is focus-firing the Nexus, since it’s not auto-healed by the batteries.

Psionic Storm is good against clumped Void Rays and generally overpowering Shield Batteries, and Archons absolutely wreck them if they can get under them due to their habit of clumping up.

Recall is also your best friend, especially if you can’t attack their newest mining base due to the army being there… fly into a nearby expansion with Flux Vanes Void Rays, snipe the Nexus or something important, then recall home. Getting a Mothership also gives you a 2nd recall!

Tempests are good for sniping Carriers, but they take a lot of micro to manage effectively - and it’s always good to try to take engagements on your own turf under your own batteries (and have plenty of Pylons - if Carriers are targetting them to depower your batteries, they aren’t targetting your units, so have plenty!)

Don’t forget Observers! They can see through the Mothership’s cloak and give you tabs on where the enemy army is moving to, allowing you to intercept it to protect a base or send an attack elsewhere.

I don’t win them all. I have issues when there are a lot of Stalkers or Archons backing them up, but I’m doing better than before.

Thanks for the tips everyone.

Late reply, but you need to decide what you want to do as you identify your opponent is going Skytoss (you do this via Hallucinations most of the time, as it is extremely important to have scouting intel in mirror matches)

If you choose to go Twilight with mostly Blink Stalkers, you need to stay mobile and constantly harassing them and prevent them from taking new bases, as you take the entire map yourself. You’re like a Zerg player in this case. Skytoss is IMPOSSIBLE without a good eco. Yes, it might be possible to max out and push out, but you only have one shot at killing your opponent and it is extremely slow (in terms of buildup as well as movement speed), so as the Stalker player you would just keep rotating different angles and kill whatever you can, Blinking away as Voids turn on Prismatic Alignment or when their main army gets here. You can also do multi-pronge attacks.

If you decide to also go Skytoss, being very aggressive with taking bases and being VERY on top of Upgrades is extremely important, especially when it comes to Weapon upgrade. Armor upgrade is not as important (especially if you go against Tempsts) but Armor upgrade is major against Void Rays and Carriers.

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Why don’t you just build shield batteries right outside his base though?
If you have more bases, then tempest/phoenix/storm + shield batteries and cannons should EASILY beat any one base bs. (especially with the new tempst upgrade with bonus damage vs. buildings)
You don’t need to micro - just hold position with your army in the middle of your army, put the waypoint of your production there, too, and then move your tempests back and forth to snipe buildings.
You can use the high templars to either storm the middle of his death ball or feedback the shield batteries. (though that might be just useless, fancy micro)

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Wait, can you actually feedback Shield Batteries? I thought they couldn’t target buildings.

I’m pretty sure but I didn’t try it out.
Most protoss would use disruptors though. (to kill shield batteries)
You can emp shield batteries (though in that pro game it was a waste)

I knew you could EMP Shield Batteries and other Protoss structures (to damage shields), but that’s because it’s an AoE ability, whereas Feedback is single-target.

If you ever see a player go skytoss early, get blink and just keep them for getting mas carriers and while you do that slowy tech up yourself.

Basicly dont let them get to skytoss before you have it and try to reduce the void + carrier count with blink stalkers.

I usually run skytoss (mothership-carriers- voidrays-one or two observers). When i face skytoss, i usually substitute a carrier or two/a few void rays with tempests. When you meet them in combat, get the attack speed debuff on them and, using the detection on observers, focus fire the carriers, mop up void rays after. also try fighting on chosen ground. in one of my skytoss mirrior matches, i managed to set up an observer moments before we met in combat and microd his carriers faster than he could kill my mothership and then my carriers.

The Key is don’t let them get there. if you do you start to experience what fuels terran whining. that is the legitimate complaint that this is not fun and definitely OP to play against and should be patched or else its cancer will motivate everyone to forget about starcraft.