Today I am doing something outrageous. Something very ill-advised. Something I may come to regret…
Today, I am unveiling to the world… my greatest cheese. The culmination of thousands of games, years of experimenting, and countless in-class hours spent devilishly theory crafting. Ladies and gentlemen…
The Sledgehammer Build
Inspired by game one in the round of 32 at Dreamhack Open Valencia in July of 2015 between American-Protoss Arium and Korean-Zerg Symbol, the Sledgehammer Build is a one-two punch of robotic power that is terrifyingly difficult to hold – EVEN if they know it’s coming. I’ve used this build hundreds of times, beat many a salty Masters player, and I can count the times it’s been held on one hand.
Step 1: Get the fastest possible Robotics Facility
To accomplish this you are going to want to make your first Pylon at 13, then a Gateway as fast as possible, then the Cybernetics Core as fast as possible. Gasses should be taken at 14 and 18 supply.
Step 2: Mind games
Before your Robo finishes, make a Stalker, then a Sentry. The Sentry should hold the door at the ramp (which you walled of course), and the Stalker should patrol the edge of your base to deny the Overlord Scout. After your first Immortal, make a Mothership Core and send it to your natural along with a probe to make a Pylon. This will make your opponent think you are expanding. Start three additional Gateways whenever you can afford them without slowing down your Immortal drop. You will naturally float 400 minerals at about the time your prism leaves so take a natural Nexus. This is meant to be scouted and hint at a macro game. In other words: “Make drones please!”
Step 3: The Golden Boys
Beeline your two Immortals and Warp Prism to the enemy base – I usually hit the third first. Send your Mothership Core a screen length ahead to spot Overlords. Timing is key, so rally your Prism straight to their base and have your Immortals ready in its flight path to hop in. Your primary goals are to kill Queens and to force out and kill Roaches and Zerglings. If possible, make your opponent THINK that this is your big plan – your ace in the hole. I will often warp in a wave of Zealots to force more units, but killing Queens and army units is the priority – killing Drones is not necessary.
This build works exponentially better if you are good at juggling units in a Warp Prism. Arium demonstrates this brilliantly in his game against Symbol. Picking up the damaged Immortal and dropping it behind the healthy one is incredibly effective – and it’s fun! Use surfaces like mineral patches and buildings to your advantage, and be VERY careful of Queens focusing down your Prism – this will result in an instant loss.
Step 4: The Sledgehammer
During this Immortal pressure, you have been doing two things: making as many Sentries as you possibly can, and making another two Immortals. When your fourth Immortal is finished (or earlier if you smell blood), send everything across the map. Right before attacking, warp in a wave of Stalkers if Roaches, and Zealots if Zerglings. Hallucinate three Archons and move them to the front, pop a Guardian Shield, and charge in like Braveheart. Odds are good your opponent will have nowhere near enough to defend. If they do, throw down some choice Forcefields and Time Warps and micro your heart out. The prism should be used to pick up Immortals close to death and warp in additional Gateway units. Congratulations – you just pissed off a Zerg player.
Ways it can be held:
I’ve seen this build held two ways: fastest possible Mutalisks or a perfect engagement with Zergling Ravager. As soon as Mutalisks are spotted, all warp ins should, of course, be pure Stalker. Maybe even hallucinate a fourth Archon to tank some additional damage (provided you still have a guardian shield). For Zergling Ravager, make sure your Immortals are shooting Ravagers instead of lings, warp in a few waves of Adepts or Zealots to cover your soft Sentry/Stalker underbelly, and most importantly: DO NOT LET CORROSIVE BILE HIT YOUR SENTRIES. This can wipe out your Sentries incredibly fast, leaving the rest of your army very exposed.
Let’s say your opponent sees it coming and spines up his natural base. You pick off his third but decide it unwise to attack further. You should have a superior army if he turtles up, so double expand! Make some more Immortals and Gateway units, and keep that nerd contained on two bases! From there you can go into Blink, Glaives, Disruptors, you name it.
Play around with variations. Try different timings on when you shove with your main army, different Gateway compositions, and different Sentry-Energy usage.
A match for Reference:
Featured Image Courtesy of Ubisoft Montreal