Like many Terrans I’ve struggled in the past against early-game Protoss aggression. I’ve found a build that seems to defend against most threats and has allowed my MMR to rise to 3,000 and I’ve been beating 3k Protosses with it routinely lately.
*1-1-1 one rax expand with immediate barracks reactor, with SCV scout after building first gas. You can engineering bay block the expansion if its late & u have the opportunity.
*Hotkey a defensive scv and send it to attack any incoming harassing probs. Keep an eye on the minimap when you send out your scv scout to see when it may be coming in so you can rally it across to intercept.
*First two barracks units - one marine & one reaper.
*If you suspect a proxy void ray after your scv scout however (usually two gas protoss, quick cyber core and no expand), build a marine before reactor and send a scout to look for it. With immediate marines often you can kill the probe/pilon if you find it early.
*Quick bunker after factory is started (and before factory if you suspect very early aggression/proxy gate). Put your first marine in the bunker and use your reaper to scout around for nearby pilons and protoss’ main base. Look for how many gateways and if its starport. The bunker should be complete before any cyber core units arrive (stalker, adept). A very early zealot could disrupt bunker but your reaper will be able to kite and kill it.
*Build marines constantly and rally them to your expansion. Fill the bunker and put the rest in your mineral line to defend against oracle or adept shades.
*First factory unit a widow mine to station on your main mineral line to defend against oracles, unless you’re sure they have no starport. Then into tech lab + tanks.
*Reactor starport immediately, first two starport units a liberator and a medivac, unless you feel you need a viking vs. air units or warp prism.
*Build a second tech-labbed rax before considering starting a third (build as soon as possible after starport starts construction), and start stim and add marauder production.
*If u spot an early twilight council, it is probably either blink or DTs. Immediately drop an engineering bay. For blink, build a turret where an observer could be used for vision to blink into the main (the most common approach). If you deny vision you deny blink into main. For four-gate mass stalker, build two bunkers, and as many tanks as possible, including some in the main. Build marines and marauders, medivacs for healing, and a viking to help deny prism (or more turrets).
*Hotkey 3-4 scvs on your expansion line so you can rally them to repair the bunker as fast as possible if there is any aggression. If you successfully repair the bunker you can deny quite a lot of early stalkers. Also, if its a proxy gate & there is a lot of pressure/units, don’t be afraid to build more than one bunker. They are a huge force multiplier and are cheap (& salvagible). If you can afford them & can’t build units fast enough, build them.
*For DTs build a turret close to your front bunker with a seiged tank to help deny frontal entry, and keep a few scans up your sleeve at all times. You can either patrol for warp prism drops with vikings or simply build a turret in your main mineral line plus station some units there - a tank + a few units, in a bunker if you feel necessary. They will not do much damage if this is the case. Don’t waste scans until you have sufficient units in position to kill the DTs. With a few well placed turrets and available scans, DTs quickly lose their power and can unless they do damage, end up costing the protoss a lot of investment for little gain. Also, be aware they will often attack in two places at once with DTs, so avoid F2 and have turrets and units ready in both bases.
*With your first 2 starport units if you are not under heavy pressure, send the liberator in for harass, and build a second widow mine to go with your first (used to defend against potential oracle) and send a two widow mine drop to their other base. Often you can do serious damage at this point. Protoss doesn’t have mules. One stalker or warp ins is not enough to deny the lib. Just commit. You’ll still kill 6-8 probes (unless pulled) taking constant damage from one stalker. Often they will focus on the lib and overlook the widow mine drop and you can get half a dozen kills in the other base.
*If they lack a robo and you have an armoury already, leave at least one of the widow mines in the mineral line & punish a lack of investment in detection. If not, take the widow mines out with your medivac and try to go back for more at some stage. With the lib, if they have no units in position, you’ll often get 5-6 probe kills before a pull, pull the lib out before units arrive and try to come back for more at some point (from a different angle - often they will build a photon cannon from the prior angle). Seige it up in hidden airspace so it doesn’t get recalled during an F2 moment. If nothing else this threat will keep protoss units at home & force investment in defense which will slow the protoss down & allow you to take your third & invest in production & upgrades also.
*Then you start building your third, second engineering bay, third rax w tech lab. Get stim, combat shield, concussive, plus more tanks and some medivacs, w upgrades rolling. At this point you’ll have enough to push back mass stalker and can move out to secure your third, or pressure their third & perhaps outright win the game if they are playing greedy.
*Stalkers & other gateway units have the upper hand in the early game, but once marines & marauders have stim, concussive, combat shield, medivac healing (very important), and equal or better upgrades, the tables turn and you can wipe the floor of mass stalker. Your aim is to get to this point before they kill you. After this point you are more than fine gate vs. gate, and it’s more a question of how the game transitions mid game (e.g. are they building collosi, in which case you need vikings etc).
*If the protoss goes for early aggression and it fails (e.g. mass blink stalker, and they get wrecked blinking into a line of seige tanks & medivaced, stimmed marauders, and you wipe the floor, immediately counter attack. They have probably lost all their units and you may be in a position to easily win the game on the counter attack. Same with any other expensive attack they try which fails.
*If a protoss is playing super greedy - taking 3-4 bases early, or trying to tech up or go into mass carrier (scout with marines & scans and with your lib harass etc, to keep tabs on what they are doing), move out when you have a bunch of tanks & bio, with stim, combat shield, initial upgrades and medivacs. You should be able to win the game at this point if they are playing too greedy.
*Whenever you frontally attack the protoss, try to throw in a harass somewhere else at the same time (i.e. send you lib or widow mine drop back in at the same time you attack their third). Protoss players are not very good at multiprong defense as they don’t need skillful micro. That way, even if your attack fails you may still do significant damage elsewhere.
Seems to be working the majority of the time. Thoughts?
PS of course, not build is ever “all purpose” in starcraft and scouting and adaptation is essential. However, as a basic template & defense against most forms of early aggression, which can be adapted to what the protoss is doing, it seems to be working ok for me - at least at my current MMR level.