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I play 2v2, me as protoss, my teammate as zerg. Recently we have been victim to many Dark Templar rushes, and they have all been impossible to counter.

Scouting will not reveal much, it doesn't always reveal 2 gas, and I see cyber/gate while they wall in. It's not possible to scout their shrine.

I 4 gate and we attack reasonably early. However at this point they have a DT in our base, suddenly, and to detect it requires a forge>cannons or a robo>observer, which is way too late in either case when a DT is killing your probes one by one.

When playing against PT, they can warp DTs up the side using a scan as well, which frequently happens. There are so many different builds, that we can't always assume DTs as what we can see with the 2nd scout is a wall in with marines/marauders, and a sentry or couple of protoss units. If the terran player goes mass marine and feeds the protoss gas, it makes the situation even worse.

Any ideas on how to defend?

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Either you do not attack early enough, or you're not playing safe enough: they cannot have DTs in your base before you attack if you're going 4 gates. And if you're going 4 gate, maybe you teammate can go for T2 at some reasonable time to get overseer, allowing you not to die instantly because of some DTs? Your choice is to be better at rushing, or be better at defending any kind of tech rush. –  tharibo Jul 5 '11 at 14:16
@tharibo he could just mean that during the attack, a DT enters his base. A true DT rush can be ready quite fast (~7m?). @SLC: one of the reasons to put early pressure (aside from doing damage) is scouting. Make sure during your attack, even if you think you will win, you are scouting and reacting accordingly, especially if your attack seems suspiciously easy. –  tenfour Jul 5 '11 at 15:05
@tenfour at which time should hit a 4 gates push? At least 6m; isn't it? That's 1m to do lots of damage, scout the potential for a DT rush and start the T2 for zerg or robobay for protoss. I don't mean it is easy, but it is fairly possible. At least it is really possible to survive and go to middle game. –  tharibo Jul 5 '11 at 15:21
They can have 1 on its way, in 2v2 I can't 4 gate unless my teammate is doing something similar, it doesn't make sense. I go for the fastest possible 4 gate, my timing is spot on, warp in 4 units, add the 1-2 I already have, and go. I warp in 4 extra at a proxy pylon, and we both attack. At that point, I am fighting uphill vs a wallin, and I have 1-2 DTs in my base. I can't reinforce because my probes are getting slaughtered one by one. I think the only solution based on the answers is to go for detection vs. protoss if the 2nd scout finds very few protoss units, and have a weaker 4gate attack –  SLC Jul 5 '11 at 15:31
@SLC When possible with your 4 gate, have a proxy pylon forward to warp in the first 4 units on their side of the map and begin your attack immediately. This will allow your attack to hit a critical 10-30 seconds sooner (depending on how far forward it is) vs any teching or expansion builds. –  en1gmatic325 Jul 6 '11 at 4:26
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4 Answers

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So, I largely agree with others that 4 Gate is fairly aggressive and susceptible to DTs, but let's pretend you "have" to 4 Gate, and your Zerg's build is something like Roach/Ling (ie. no lair tech).

First off, let me start by saying, these are very rational builds. They're fairly standard. You should not feel the need to dramatically change from these builds despite anything you encounter. Next, let me also say, there is no amount of scouting which will guarantee you detect DTs. While good scouting can alleviate this problem, it will not prevent it. There will always be some player who proxy's his Archives/Shrine and your many scouts just miss it. So while good scouting is always good advice, it is never a solution.

So What Can I Do?

Depending on the map, dealing with DTs usually means you'll have to protect both bases, so let's deal with the Zerg first. I routinely run a Roach/Ling or Ling/Baneling opening and I've run into enough DTs that I've made an Evolution Chamber a standard part of my build. Initially it was because you often see the DTs leaving the opponent's base (or scout them warping in at a proxy Pylon), and it turns out you have just enough time to get a Spore Crawler down at your mineral line.

The flipside to the very early Evo Chamber is a very early Melee upgrade (or Ranged). It turns out that +1 Zerglings are just terrors, and will eat through anything short of +1 Zealots in no time at all (including Roaches). In fact, that early Evo Chamber has become such a powerful move that I've taken to running it in all my match ups (P,T and even Z). So I highly recommend you work it into your Zerg builds.

Now for PvP it's much less standard that someone goes for a DT rush (or even DTs in general). Early Observers are just too common for DT play to become regular. However, that doesn't preclude you from running into DTs. There are a couple things you can start doing to prepare.

  1. Wall in -> wall ins aren't just for Zerg, they also shut down DTs and Korean 4 Gate openings by buying you more time to recover
  2. Early Forge -> an early Forge can be just as beneficial as an early Evo Chamber. +1 Zealots eat Zerglings/Marines, and that +1 carries over to Immortals/Colossus later (in fact, 3 Gate Expand into Double Forge is an amazingly powerful build).
  3. 3 Gate Robo -> while 4 Gate is the traditional agressive build, 3 Gate Robo was the original PvP build, and with the recent nerfs to Warp Gate tech, it's coming back into fashion (an Immortal really eats those Stalkers). Plus, quick observer!
  4. 2 Gate Play -> 2 Gate has fallen out of favor with the longer Zealot build time, but against an opponent who is rushing DTs, it is disastrous. Consider running 2 Gate while your partner FEs and then have him follow up at the 6 minute push timing.

The problem with DT rushes is that it's very much an all in build. While later DT pushes can be advantageous, anyone who's rushing DTs by the 7 minute mark has made HUGE sacrifices to get there. If you can just keep them out of your mineral line, you've pretty much won the game. Now in a 2v2 this means you'll have to fight a 2v1, but having been on the short side of a couple of those, I can tell you you're sitting pretty.

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I decided to actually provide a more thorough answer than your standard treatise for once :-P –  en1gmatic325 Jul 6 '11 at 4:40
I would not recommend 2 gate play without a 10/10 from your ally. Analyzing my replays I found an abysmal 22% winrate for 2 gate play without an accompanying 10/10. 13-47 was the win-loss for it in case you are worried about sample size. –  en1gmatic325 Jul 6 '11 at 19:07
+1 for the early evo chamber. Fast upgrades are extremely useful. And planting a spore crawler in your mineral line can also help fend off void rays and banshees. –  Etienne de Martel Jul 12 '11 at 18:15
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Dark Templar rush is a strong counter to the 4 gate rush and similar aggressive builds; unless you can identify the build your opponent is doing it's always going to be a gamble.

The common tells of a DT rush are the early gas or early 2 gas or a lack of units. With Zerg you can pester the front door with Speedlings, to try and count the unit numbers, or suicide an overlord into the Protoss base.

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ProTech habitually sacrifices an overlord at 5:30 every game to scout. It's a very small price to pay for the most important information in the game. Also, another "tell" is lots of zealots or cannons. When Protoss turtles up with cannons it's a good sign they're going for some questionable high tech. –  tenfour Jul 5 '11 at 11:14
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Going with 4 gateways is a risky build, and like all risks, there are consequences. A safer build is to add a robotics and get an observer - that will also help your scouting.

Don't get a forge against DTs; you will have "blind" spots all over your base that will frustrate you, and especially your zerg ally who can't benefit from your cannons.

The less you know about what your opponents are doing, the riskier 4 gateways is. The consequence is losing the game. That's why scouting is such an important component of sc2.

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First off, let me say that the builds you are doing are not very good unless the enemy has a zerg on their team. If there is no Z on the enemy team, your Z should be opening hatch first barring any proxy nonsense against a PP or PT team. If you are uncomfortable with hatch first and want to play it safe, you can do the speedling expand instead.

This combined with good scouting of the front, and suiciding an OL in if needed, should at least give you a read of aggression incoming, tech, or expansions.

As the Zerg

  • If it is expansions, either try to find a timing window based on their expansion timings to punish them with an attack, or just focus on econ yourself and drone like mad.
  • If it is aggression, prepare accordingly. This generally means cutting drones in the 20-30 range, depending on the aggression you scout. With stim timings allowing for more drones, 4 gate being in the middle, and fast 2 gate stalkers or zeals + 4 rax marines being at the low end of droning.
  • If tech, Z will likely want to get to lair asap while droning up a reasonable amount, probably getting to at least 40 drones. The lair is needed as dt's and air play are both much easier to deal with if the Z has lair tech. If you don't think you can go lair in time, an evo and a couple spores can be alright, but if P doesn't have detection you may still have a rough time against dt's.

As the Protoss:

  • If you scout an expand build, the same advice as I had for zerg applies basically, either expand and macro yourself, or find a timing window to punish the expansion.
  • If you do scout aggression incoming, I would generally recommend 3 gate robo over 4 gate against most types of early game attacks, but react accordingly.
  • If you scout tech of some kind, it is up to you whether you want to try to do something like a 3 gate expand, 4 gate to get lots of units out, or 3 gate robo for a more well-rounded defense. Obviously the 3 gate expo and the 4 gate both lack detection, and will rely on either a forge or on the Z for detection.

A bit of a breakdown on the different options against tech:

  • The 3 gate expand is best used when you are confident you can hold off whatever the tech is without too much of an issue. It will let you get ahead economically while you dispatch of their harass attempts. An example would be your zerg will have overseers in time, and you know it is dt's that are coming.
  • The 4 gate is best used against air play, provided it is not cloak banshees and your zerg lacks overseers. If you do an economic 4 gate, you will be able to pump out a lot of stalkers and you won't have invested 100 early gas into the robo, allowing for you to make yet more anti-air. You can also add blink to this if you so desire. 3 gate blink is applicable in much the same situations, but makes you a bit weaker before blink kicks in.
  • The 3 gate robo is best vs dt's and fast colo. It is a pretty well rounded build and will also hold up ok to blink play.

PZ vs PZ

Now, what if you are against PZ? Well, in this case their early aggression options are much more potent than any non-proxied aggression you will be facing from a PP or PT team. As such, a fast expand is not viable, so Z will likely be unable to provide the detection for both players, and will probably at most be able to cover his own mineral line with a spore. So, what are some modifications you can make to your build to be more resilient to this?

As the Zerg

You basically have 2 options to start with as the zerg, a 10/10 or a 14/14.

  • Open 10/10 if you are choosing one of the options designed to kill them before dt's can even happen.
  • Open 14/14 if you are not going that route. From here, you will need to keep a good scout on their zerg and see whether you should be pumping units or if you can drone up. After this simple opening a lot of variation occurs:
    • Drone a bit (2-4 past their drone count) if they put up a spine, and then generally go roaches (as this is usually what a spine indicates)
    • Drone a bit if they go roaches, then go roaches yourself.
    • Go banelings if they are massing speedlings.
    • Make a spine if they go for early banelings, and either fight a speedling/baneling war, or tech to roaches depending on what you are comfortable with.
    • If they go fast lair, it is usually for mutas with gas dump from their partner. Either kill them before they hit, or prepare for mutas however you are most comfortable doing so. I would generally recommend expanding if they have a solid defense, so long as you think you'll be able to hold it vs the muta harass.
    • If you can't scout them, I would generally recommend going speedling baneling with about one drone added every 5 larva or so until you can confirm their tech. Banelings will keep you safe from speedling all ins, you can compete with speedling baneling play, and speedlings can deal with roaches before they get +1 or a critical mass of roaches.

In general, if your protoss will lack detection and you know (or highly suspect) their protoss is teching, try to get an evo chamber up and a spore in your mineral line. This will keep you safe vs dt's and hold off at least the initial air play, hopefully giving your protoss enough time for his anti-air units to get there, or for his dt's to deal the killing blow to them.

If you can afford it safely, you can go lair and get overseers and solve the dt issue, but you won't always have the luxury of little pressure from their zerg. This is generally easiest to pull off if you make a couple spines to defend and drone up more.

As the Protoss

  • Wall your ramp with your gate/core/any additional buildings on a larger map. Generally just use a hold positioned zeal to hold the entrance, if a dt starts attacking, the zeal will buy you some time, and you will generally be able to warp in a second zeal behind it, and seal with a pylon to further delay the dt's arrival, hopefully this will give you enough time to get some detection up. You can also use forcefields to delay the dt.
  • Instead of a normal 4 gate, do a gate-forge or forge-gate opening into 4 gate. This works best on tempest where you can leave a gap that can be blocked with a zeal if you wall between your ramp and your ally's on the low ground. (using the gate and forge as the wall, the cannon and pylon behind the wall). Any shared base map is also a good candidate for this though. Just keep an eye on your ledges for any pylon + overlord for high ground warp-ins.
  • Just three gate robo. You lose a bit of offensive power, but you'll be able to get an obs out, and immortals will help vs stalkers as well as vs roach play. Later on, colo are obviously a good choice and easier to transition to from 3 gate robo than from 4 gating.
  • Have your zerg go 14/14, play a bit more of a defensive style and get a lair completed by ~6:30. I say a bit more defensive because obviously a 150/100 investment lowers your offensive abilities. If he went core before second gas, ~6:45 should do. make 2 overseers asap if you haven't found evidence to disprove a dt rush incoming. Send the first to P, keep the second in Z's base. If done this way, P can basically do whatever build he pleases, whether it be 4 gate, 3 gate robo, 3 gate expand, fast air, your own dt rush, etc.
  • 4 or 5 Gate zealot all in. I'd recommend the 5 gate version since the nerf to WG research time. This involves going 10 pylon/10 gate to get your core up earlier. You will mine 50 gas and then take probes back off of gas. Use only 1 chronoboost on probes, all the rest goes to warpgate research. Cut probes at 19, and have a pylon ready to warp into their base when warpgate finishes. This works best with either a 10/10 to cover your pylon along with an OL to spot the high ground, or on a map like gutterhulk where you can put the pylon at the backdoor rocks and warp right into their base with no assitance from Z, and far from their front door.
  • Instead of a standard 4 gate, do a fast 3-stalker build first, like this one but without going robo afterwards and instead adding on 2 more gates. This combined with your Z matching their Z in unit production will result in you overwhelming most PZ builds, and certainly any tech ones. You will have a small timing window vs a standard 4 gate, and they will have a small timing window vs you right after their WG finishes. This works best if your Z 10/10'ed.
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There is a lot of information I don't really agree with here (eg. there being only two options for Zerg, Korean 5 Gate being a good 2v2 Timing, trying to find a timing window against DT Rush, etc). I would recommend you focus more firmly on what his actual problem is (4 Gate, no Lair vs DTs), rather than try to give a number of possible openings that you prefer... –  tzenes Jul 6 '11 at 5:06
@tzenes I play 2v2 with arranged team around the top 400 NA level with a couple teams, and with random team, around the top 50 NA level. I've played against the rank 1 RT player, and as high as rank 6 AT. If the Korean 5 gate can pull off wins vs tech openings at that level, may I ask why you disagree with it being a viable timing? While one base zerg play is viable vs PP or PT, it is only on non-shared base maps, and even then an expo is stronger 90%+ of the time. He asked how to defend vs a dt rush with PZ, I think this about covers every possibility involved. –  en1gmatic325 Jul 6 '11 at 5:14
appeal to authority is a logical fallacy. If you really want to get into the details of why Korean 5 Gate loses to DT rushes in 2v2, we can have that conversation (in chat, not here), but I think the larger point I'm getting at here is that a lot of your content is not about defending a DT rush; what you're doing is entering a much larger debate which is off topic. –  tzenes Jul 6 '11 at 5:25
@tzenes They lose to dt rushes largely because of their openings, I suggested alternative openings, much as you did. I added some suggestions of what to do if they open that way and do not find a dt rush incoming so they can actually use the openings that they may be unfamiliar with without losing to everything that is not a dt rush. If that information is too off topic it can be removed, I just thought it would be useful. –  en1gmatic325 Jul 6 '11 at 6:03
I dont beleive they lose because of their openings. In fact I think there well equipped to handle DTs. But the point its that explaining the game from scratch means youre more likley to mix things people agree with with things they dont. As someone who writes a lot of long form answers I can tell you: restricting your topic is a good thing –  tzenes Jul 6 '11 at 14:47
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