Let’s talk a bit about Area of Effect (AoE), or more specifically, AoE in Protoss vs Terran. While Protoss and Terran start on relatively even footing, as Terran’s army complicates, Protoss needs to tech into some form of AoE in order to keep from being overwhelmed.
Each form of AoE comes with its own benefits and limitations that can severely affect your defensive ability. As such, it’s important to have an understanding of these limitations when planning your strategy.
First of all, I’ll start with the unit least commonly seen in Protoss vs Terran. It’s easy to see why; the Disruptor is a unit that’s too easy to out-micro for Terran. Drag and click on an empty Medivac and the threat of the Disruptor is gone. Even discounting Medivacs it’s still not exactly reliable. Depending on a unit for AoE that can be dodged with proper micro is more akin to gambling than an actual strategy.
It’s not to say the Disruptor isn’t without its benefits. Their ability to force caution makes them solid defensive units while pressed into your own base. In a desperate situation, reliability becomes much less of a concern, and Disruptors are Protoss’ ultimate Hail Mary play.
At max range, a Disruptor actually outranges a tank in siege mode. Against heavy mech where Medivacs are less common, the Disruptor actually is a bit of an underrated unit. While still not 100% reliable, the lower mobility of mech comps heavily stacks the odds in the Disruptor’s favor.
Against the standard MMM, Siege Tank, Liberator, Widow Mine, the Disruptor is found lacking. But against mech builds and in desperate situations, they actually become a viable option.
Once the most hated unit in the game, the Colossus has fallen far from grace in LotV. Following a well earned 20% nerf to their damage output, the Colossus isn’t seen outside of niche builds in PvP and PvZ. The Colossus has found its place however in PvT.
With Extended Thermal Lance researched, the Colossus boasts massive range that heavily punishes any overly aggressive Terran bio-ball. The Colossus’ greatest asset, however, is its tech path. Both Observers and the Warp Prism are produced from the Robotics Facility. In any matchup, Protoss will always want to get Robo tech out as soon as possible.
Being able to produce your core units out of Robo tech heavily streamlines the process as well. You avoid resource dumps into detouring tech routes which leaves windows of vulnerability. This makes for a very safe build path.
Naturally, the Colossus is not without weakness. While it makes for a strong opening, if Terran is given time to mass Vikings, Colossi can quickly become vulnerable. Colossi become liabilities the longer you stay on them without switching tech routes. For this reason, it’s important to use your initial window of power to your advantage. This can mean any combination of securing an expansion, pressing an enemy vulnerability, or safely making a tech switch. It’s important to get value out of your Colossus early because, if given time, they eventually become giant walking resource dumps.
High Templars are an extremely versatile unit against Terran. PsiStorm can be used to devastating effect against most Terran compositions. It’s a flexible ability that can be used both offensively to crush an engagement, or defensively to force an enemy retreat. The Templar’s most underrated ability, Feedback, is exceptionally powerful against Terran in the right situations. Really, the only thing in StarCraft that feels more satisfying than blowing a fully-loaded Medivac out of the sky with a single Feedback is doing so to several.
Of course, for its versatility, High Templars suffer from many of the Colossi’s strengths. Getting out a Templar Archives, researching Psionic Storm, and producing even a handful of High Templars takes an absolutely massive investment of Vespene. And even after, Templars aren’t able to use PsiStorm immediately after being produced. High Templars have to first build 25 energy more on their 50 energy starting point.
For this reason, it’s important to treat teching into Templar Archives the same as taking an expansion. Doing so leaves you heavily vulnerable for a period of time, so it’s best to do so as you’re making an aggressive move on your opponent.
By virtue of its design, the Archon naturally suffers from all the flaws of the High Templar. Unlike the High Templar, Archons have limited range and become vulnerable during engagements. However, again, unlike the Templar, they’re actual combat units and can hold their own if pressed. They can also be exceptionally effective with Chargelots, Adepts, or Immortals to cover behind.
Overall, during engagements, it’s important to get rid of as much energy as possible from your High Templars before merging them into Archons. While solid combat units with strong AoE, they’re also very vulnerable for their massive cost. Even so, you shouldn’t depend on them as your main source of AoE. However, they are exceptional at cleaning house once your Templars are spent.
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