This might be a dumb question; I actually don't own SC2, so what experience I have is playing friends' accounts. But my friend has been playing on Diamond + Platinum, and so far he seems to be unopposed by 4 warp gate rush. Which is basically 4 warp gates + proxy pylon within 6 minutes, and sending in 3 zealots 3 stalkers.

Anyone who tries to tech up simply gets destroyed, because he has no units by the time the warp gets there. Is it because he hasn't been encountering anyone who is actually good?

And what are good counters to this, if I ever end up buying SC2 and playing against him?

I feel like this can't actually be a competitive build, because it doesn't seem to be the win-every-time strategy in professional games.

edit: I guess the more specific question I am asking is, "What are essential/crucial weaknesses in this build? (in general) In particular, the weaknesses that prevent it from being the end-all build"

  • Related, but not dupe: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/16644/…
    – badp
    Mar 22, 2011 at 8:56
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    Simple answer: Because the game is balanced so that a single tactic does not overwelm all others. Mar 22, 2011 at 10:44
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    day9 make a video couple days ago about 4wg day9tv.blip.tv/file/4911821 check it out
    – Meta
    Mar 22, 2011 at 11:16
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    @TomWij - That's what I want to believe; I just want someone to prove me exactly why :P
    – Justin L.
    Mar 22, 2011 at 20:59
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    I have a better answer for you guys: The reason you don't see enough 4 Gate in pro matches is because you're watching the wrong matches. I watch IEM recently and it was like a 4 Gate parade (4 Gate blink Stalker into Colossus, again and again and again). Not every player is Iron and feels the need to use a different opening each game. Most players 4 Gate, or 3 Gate Expand, and every once in a blue moon, we see 1 Gate Expand.
    – tzenes
    Mar 24, 2011 at 16:12

6 Answers 6


What people often forget about the 4 Warp Gate strategy is that it's an all-in strategy. If your rush fails, your opponent has a better economy than yours and will crush you in mid-game.

If a 4 Gate is scouted and reacted to in the appropriate way, it's 70/30 in favor of the defender, and professional players recognize a 4 Gate when they see one.

  • What is this "appropriate way", though? I understand that it's all-in.
    – Justin L.
    Mar 22, 2011 at 20:58
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    Mentioning something about scouting out the forward pylon and taking it out might cover some of what is appropriate.
    – Sadly Not
    Mar 24, 2011 at 15:14
  • And it works well in lower leagues because it's often not "scouted and reacted to in the appropriate way" at that level.
    – Soup
    May 23, 2011 at 21:00
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    I do not really agree with this answer. PvZ and PvT this may be true. But every professional PvP matchup revolves around the 4-gate. On most maps as protoss the only way to react to the 4 warp gate is to do the 4gate yourself, and on the maps you can defend it on, you have to be planning to do a special build from the start. This style is not a reaction, its a decision made before the game which is still based on the power of the 4gate.
    – Josh K
    Aug 17, 2011 at 17:21

The pros have 4gate pretty much figured out.

The tell is, if you scout at the ~14 food mark:

  • one gas
  • one gateway
  • one cybernetics core and
  • lots of energy in the Nexus.
  • (the last three gateways will most often be placed down all at once)

As holycow has mentioned, each race has its own reactions to it, but I'd list different reactions:

  • Zerg has a queen that tanks a lot of damage, one or two spine crawlers deal a lot of damage, and speed-upgraded zerglings make everything just fall apart for the Protoss.
  • Terran only needs to make two bunkers filled with a mix of marines and marauders on top of your ramp, and Protoss simply can't make it up the top. The concussive shell upgrade makes the defense absolute.
  • Protoss' counter, unfortunately, seems to be a defensive 4-gate. This is very tricky and micromanagement heavy, but it's doable. Another defense would be a 3-gate robo with immortals tearing through stalkers, which will also make you ahead in tech. But this is very hard to do, and very prone to mistakes.

The point is: 4-gate is a very formulaic attack - you can analyze one 4-gate, and you've analyzed them all. You can practice against it, and once you figure it out, there's practically no 4 gate that can kill you anymore.

And, this is probably going to deaf ears, but while 4-gating might give you oodles and oodles of wins, they're empty wins. If you get into diamond simply by 4-gating, you will hit a brick wall: 4-gate is all you have, and it won't work anymore. So you'll start to lose lots of games, while you try to actually learn the game.

BTW: the next patch (1.3.3) will make 4-gate a very different beast, since the build times are juggled around a ton. The lesson in this: don't rely on a single all-in build, if it gets changed, you're screwed.


Well, quite frankly it does dominate professional play kinda. Scouting the 4 gates is crucial when playing vs toss, and like Ivo said, the thing with the four gates is that you can continually warp from all 4 off one base. It uses all resources almost perfectly leaving no resources for anything else (unless you stop warping in of course) and makes for a steady stream of units at the front door of the opponent and when combined with chrono boost, it makes for unmatched unit production off one base. Its weakness? Hmmm, good question...in mirror match I know a toss can try 3 gate+ robo and forcefield their ramp giving them time to pump immortals. Terran can try same thing kinda, using extra bunkers to bide time to pump tanks. And zerg I suppose would need to throw down lots of extra spine crawlers to protect their xpo and just pump a mix of roaches and lings...basically if you see it coming you just do what you can to get ready to fight like...NOW!

And also I guess you can say that tactically, one of the weakness in the strategy would be the forward pylon...if for some reason you could take that out during the push it would help.

This is just my thoughts on the situation. I'm no master leaguer though, so I hope I'm not too far off from actually viable information here! I'm just tryin to help from the little that I know :-/

  • Don't think you can defend a zerg FE against 4 gate on some maps. The closer the rush distance, the sooner you have the first group at your expo.
    – wds
    Mar 25, 2011 at 9:34

Defensive play is always more efficient than offensive play. The static defence advantages, especially of forcefield on the ramp in PvP, is extremely strong. 3gate for toss or equivalent for other races are good enough to hold 4gate when prepared correctly; if you know the 4gate is coming you can easily efficiently defend it and come out ahead.

  • Not always. If you defending 1 base, opponent get expo and you in mean time will go out of resources. If you defending you expo without putting any pressure to your opponent - he will take 2 expos more...
    – Budda
    Mar 23, 2011 at 13:47
  • A 4gate doesn't want to play an economic game. Scout the 4gate, defend, profit.
    – Rushyo
    Apr 15, 2011 at 9:21

Good scouting against ANY rush is the exact way to counter it. What boggles the mind is that a 4 gate rush is still consistently winning in Gold and Platinum, for the simple fact that it is nearly completely counterable by good scouting, and any player worth their salt by that level of play sound be scouting more than say your average "medium" level AI.

  • Let's say I KNOW my opponent is going to go for 4gate. Like, he told me beforehand, as an act of arrogance. What would I do? What weaknesses does it have?
    – Justin L.
    Mar 23, 2011 at 7:24
  • Know where he's going to put it, best way to beat it is make sure you get out a couple units and take out the pylon before he can get units out from it (longer travel time = more prep time). Your next bet is going to be a hard defense, 3 rax or roach/ling counter a 4 gate extremely well. Mar 23, 2011 at 7:55
  • If you know he IS GOING to do 4 gate - don't do early expand, make some static defense and be prepare to counter push and/or expand once pressure became lower. You will ask: "Why pressure became lower?" The answer is: static defense is more cost effective, so you will kill more his units then he will kill yours. As a result with time your army will grow up slowly and his will remain on the same level. In the mean time you will destroy that proxy pylon - and remove pressure. Having bigger army you can ... do what ever you wont and WIN! :)
    – Budda
    Mar 23, 2011 at 13:51
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    2nd more point: if you invest in static defense - be prepared that opponent will try to go into your "back door". Or he will do expand. So don't overinvest in defense. if you file he don't push so much anymore - that means - he doing transition.
    – Budda
    Mar 23, 2011 at 13:59
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    @Budda I think you should re-arrange those last few comments into a separate answer : it is way more detailed and explicit than most other answers in this thread (I find the other ones are just too abstract to be useful)
    – ZeRemz
    Mar 23, 2011 at 19:49

See this build a lot on gomtv by protoss, anyway to be able to counter you can;

Terran- Bunker up with marauders + a few marines use 1 base + 1 gass and use 3 rax then siege expand.

Zerg- use 2/3 spine crawlers and roaches they take a lot of hits and try to get burrow tech also spread creep to help surround + transfuse.

protoss- um 4 gate them back lol, saw TT1 do a 3 gate and held it off with mainly zealots and blocking the stalkers from running with probes. but otherwise use sentries to forcefield your ramp and tech to collosi I guess.

hope this helps main thing is don't fast expand and only move out when you macro up a bigger army cos for the 4 gate push they cut probes so if you hold your ahead in economy and are able to safely expand then win.

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