PvZ - Warp Prism In Early Game

Now that the recent Warp Prism buff, not to mention White-ra's special tactics, have been in place for the last several weeks we have seen an evolution of PvZ, or atleast a very greatly increased occurence of Warp Prisms in PvZ.  Their apperance has not yet shifted the meta game as such, but it is definetly making an impact in the way traditional PvZ is thought.

In the Roach Corruptor days of old, and still for the most part now, Protoss had to keep their army together at all times.  No lone part of it can function on its own, meanwhile the opposite is true of Zerg.  They are able to split their forces up into two or more attack forces to spread the Protoss thin and exploit his immobility.  The Warp Prism is beginning to change all of this.  Increasingly we are seeing Zerg have a hard time dealing with consistent Warp Prism harass.  It isn't that they cannot break off a chunk of their army and fight off a squad of Zealots, it's that Zerg has no real way of actually killing the Warp Prism.

Why is the warp prism so good?

With the Warp Prism speed upgrade and the added 60 Shields from the last patch put together, it becomes one slippery devil.  It is especially effective in the first few minutes of the game, up to around the 12 minute mark when Zerg armies are approaching their prime.  In this time, especially after a forge expand or if the zerg is playing especially greedy, the Zerg army is by and largely consisted of a token force for Pylon duty.

Simply put, Zergs are not used to being attacked by any large Gateway force until around the 9th minute mark, and as a result lack significant defense for any sort of agression.  This lack of army is because without the Warp Prism, Protoss has no effective means to arrive earlier.  Any pushes across the map at this point in time are subject to either:

  • quick Pylon sniping and denying of reinforcements
  • large Zergling run-bys that force the Protoss to defend
  • a quick and total death if the Zerg had been making forces to go all in

There is no inbetween, unless ofcourse you are fighting someone god-awful.

How does one kill a warp prism?

As the great slew of air protoss from the months passed will tell you, Zerg has very little anti air.  In the early game the only real hope any zerg has of killing a Warp Prism is with a large number of queens, and this, as long as the Protoss is controlling their units properly, is unlikely at best.  Especially once the speed upgrade is researched, and then Hydras and Infestors should not be enough to catch this little pest.  The prism is even able to outrun Corruptors, and while not outpacing Mutalisks, it does come close to their speed with a fancy 3.2

 What to warp in?

The speed is not its only asset.  Simply put, zealots are really, really, and I mean really good.  If you thought a handful of Zerglings in a mineral line is annoying, you should watch 4 Zealots.  Completely unupraded they are beasts, with upgrades they are downright terrifying.  This is especially true vs the large majority of Zergs who dont pop a Roach Warren down until around the 9th minute mark and only have Zerglings, sometimes witohut speed, to defend.  It isn't even the fact that Zealots are just strong against Zerglings in general, it's that their location helps them so much.  Which location is this?  The Zerg mineral line.  Get 3+ of those bad boys in one, and they aren't moving anytime soon.

Even without micro on the Protoss players part, the Hatchery itself and the minerals form bulwarks on either side and funnel the Zerglings - greatly increasing the Zealots' kill count in the process.  It is not uncommon to see about 10+ Zerglings traded per Zealot in these encounters, along with a few Drones.

One should also remember that Zealots are surprisingly good against Roaches in small numbers.  They also destroy Spine Crawlers.  If your opponent is prepared and has Spine Crawlers/Roaches waiting for your Warp Prism, you can simply drop directly on top of them (the four inside, you should warp in and load up before hand) to overcome the range disadvantage.  You can then deploy into Prism mode and warp in however many more Zealots you like to complete the massacre.

Cost Effectiveness

The last point I wil bring up in this matter is that of resources.  The Protoss army is, by and large a Gas intensive army.  Most Protoss float excess amounts of Minerals which are dumped into more Cannons to protect against counterattacks and extra production buildings.  The minerals don't matter as much as the Gas does, which is used to send the zerg to a fiery hell.

In this sense, the Warp prism Itself and its Zealot cargo is completely dispensable. Instead of guarding against counterattacks with Cannons, you force those units that would be used to counterattack to defend your drops, and force Minerals that would be allocated to those same forces into static defense to also defend these drops.  Your Warp Prism and Zealots do the triple duty of defending your expansions through distraction, putting pressure back onto your opponent and giving you a way to spend your excess minerals.

Author: quad

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I am a masters level Protoss who plays semi competitively with my CSL team and clan. I reached my highest point in my sc2 Career recently by placing in the top 16 of a plyahem daily! Hit me up if you are looking for pointers and help!

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