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Protoss Insight: Trap-style PvZ


If the first round of GSL Code S was any indication, we’re in for one a hell of a year of StarCraft in 2017. Yet, even among a sea of amazing games, the final game between Cho “Trap” Sung Ho and Kang “Solar” Min Soo stood out as one of the unforgettable moments from the Round of 32. Trap vs. Solar on Daybreak brought everything you could want from a game of StarCraft. But what thoroughly intrigued me was Trap’s system of harass in PvZ.

Trap’s economic harassment brought him back from a crippling position against Armani. Against Solar he was able to trade economic damage even after taking repeated loses to baneling busts. And in the long run of things, it was this harassment that saw him into the Round of 16.


The Book of Oracle


If you ever wanted to learn how to harass with Oracles, well Trap does it by the book. His initial wave of harass started off strong, but a bit of reckless over-extension saw his Oracles taking more damage than was necessary. He opened his attack by moving into the right side of Solar’s mineral line while his Queen was rallied to the left. Before losing his shields to the Queen he moved into the mineral line of Solar’s natural. While the natural was protected by a Spore Crawler and his shields already low, Trap was still able to get one more drone kill for minimal damage before doubling back to the main.


Image courtesy AfreecaTV

This is where Trap over-extended just slightly, pursuing another drone kill with an already bruised Oracle. In the end, it was a net result of five drones for no losses. But could have easily lost an Oracle for the pursuit of the fifth.

Even with the over-extension, this was still among the most elegant displays of Oracle control you’ll find anywhere. Trap, however, as he showed repeatedly throughout the day, isn’t one to settle for good or even great harassment.

His followup attack was nothing but pristine micro-control. Shuffling in and out of a spore protected mineral line with a pair of heavily bruised Oracles. This is what Oracle harassment is supposed to look like. You want to stick around for only as long as your shields let you and not a second longer. As with powerful but fragile units, it’s always better to risk pulling out too early rather than too late.




Image courtesy AfreecaTV

As breathtaking as Trap’s micro was to watch, it was the next wave of harassment where things actually got interesting. After the last Oracle attack, Trap followed up almost immediately with a mass warp in of Zealots into Solar’s main. While he did do some amount of economic damage, with a bit more focus fire, this attack could have been far more devastating. Solar managing to clear the attack with just about 20% of the health left on his Spawning Pool.

Another round of Zealot Warp-Ins would force a Hatchery cancel. A third round would again do light damage but be cleared quickly. The next real damage would come from another Oracle fly-by over Solar’s fifth. Solar would respond almost immediately to this attack with a second baneling bust into Trap’s fourth. This would be the second time this game Trap would have a sizable economic advantage equalized by a baneling bust. If there’s anything to learn from this, it is that Photon Cannons can only do so much in PvZ. Trap would later correct this by moving a couple Archons to his fifth.

Image courtesy AfreecaTV

High Templar are another option as well. A mix of course, always recommended.

The next warp-in of Zealots would prove to be the most critical. Dropped in with an Archon, this attack would succeed in taking out Solar’s Spire. At this point, Trap was already building towards his Carrier army. With his Spire taken out, Solar would be unable to respond with Corruptors, meaning this could have been the moment that decided the game.




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