I play on a 2v2 team as Protoss, my ally is Terran.

1v1 rush handling is fairly straight-forward, and if you're prepared for it the defender gets the advantage because of quick reinforcements, high ground, etc.

In 2v2 however, when a rush comes, it's twice as strong, and the defender is at a disadvantage because:

  • It's usually too early to join armies with your ally, so it's 2v1.
  • As Protoss, when an early double rush comes in at 6 minutes, they are right at my production facilities. It's easy for one of them to deal with my units, and one of them to take out my pylons very quickly.
  • There are more options for the opponent to see high ground: hallucinated colossus, overloards, or because the army is so big, just running straight up the ramp.

For example I just lost to a 6-minute marine+roach attack on Monlyth Ridge. We scouted and knew it was coming, but I don't know what we could have done to stop it. They killed my pylons while I tried to hold them off, thus I couldn't reinforce, thus they didn't even have to kill my base before going to kill my ally.

The typical answer to holding on in a 2v2 game when one ally is dying is: Die as slowly as possible. This is excellent later in the game, but against decent opponents at about 6-8 minutes, this isn't very powerful / possible because:

  1. I have very few units to distract them with.
  2. My map coverage & economy is not enough to start building dark templar or other surprise tech.
  3. This early, they have a very clear idea of what options I have, so they are not afraid to just march into my base.
  4. Luring them away from the base is too risky; without any defense in my base they will run in and kill production / economy.
  5. Once they kill my production (which doesn't take long), they don't need to bother killing my buildings. They can march straight to the ally's base. They only need to keep a couple units in my base to prevent me from advancing.

My 2v2 team tends to win as long as we can hold off 6-8 minute rushes. Here are some ideas but I would like to hear your comments before I throw away lots of games experimenting:

  • More sentries for forcefield. The advantage is this doesn't cost much of a compromise to my build as I can build them just as I build any other gateway unit. However, it only delays the inevitable and doesn't allow me to ramp up my production. It also prevents me from helping my ally if they go to him. So I am pretty scared to use FF in this scenario.
  • Hallucination. They won't have detection at this point, and if they arrive at my front door and see 2 immortals and 6 stalkers, they may just run away. If not, it could absorb enough of their fire to buy us more time than a force field.
  • Turtle. My ally and I prefer longer games so we just want to be able to hold off rushes. So should we do it decisively by turtling hard? Especially on Monlyth Ridge, could it be that doing a forge-first opening and quick-ish expand is the best way to fend off their early attacks? The idea would be to sacrifice early units, put all resources into defense and benefit from a healthier economy and play the game on our terms. But I am not sure static defense is strong enough for rushes like this anyway, and it's a lot of investment.

So, how does a 2v2 team defend against rushes like this as the different race options?

[Update, after accepting Sorean's answer]:

I want to say how I integrated Sorean's answer into my thinking and on the ladder. I think you can boil the issues down to joining armies at your base means giving up defensive advantages we're used to in 1v1. These advantages boil down mostly to positioning / base geography. Without that issue, for example on Discord IV, the defense strategy is the same as 1v1.

So the response is that, if you want to compensate for the disadvantage, then you'll need to emphasize more heavily the defensive capabilities of your race in a 2v2 defense. Fortunately Blizzard has given enough options to make up for the disadvantage in 2v2 (I think...). Note that I really don't know much about Zerg or Terran, but I'll try to list this:

  1. For Protoss:
    1. Sentries with force field - if you can't completely block the opponent, you can at least choke them into a more favorable position.
    2. Cannons, though usual cautions apply for these costly defenses. But in some defensive positions cannons can be favored over units for the amount of damage they deal, and they are useful later in the game to detect burrowed units / dark templar.
  2. For Zerg:
    1. Static defense (but usual cautions still apply of course). Zerg can benefit even better because of being able to move static defense.
    2. Creep
    3. Queens with transfuse. Think spanishiwa and how he manages to defend with almost no units against a 4-gate.
  3. For Terran:
    1. Bunkers
    2. Siege tanks. Because siege tanks can arrive earlier in the game than anything else with such a long range, they are great for defending main / natural bases.
    3. Supply depots. Not sure if this really deserves to go on this list, but the ability to raise / lower a supply depot can be so useful in making building positioning work in your favor, and out of the opponents' favor. We are starting to experiment, putting the 2nd supply depot in the protoss base if we're walling in.
  • 2
    @tenfour have you watched the Day[9] dailies about 2v2? He mentions some interesting tactics about rushing and countering. It's daily #292 - #296
    – bummzack
    Commented May 12, 2011 at 11:54
  • 3
    I have seen them but to be honest they seem a bit idealistic. His response to this question would seem to be "if one of you dies, the other should be able to hold, and he'll be strong and your opponents weak". In reality, they kill both of us in 2 2v1 fights. If my ally holds them off, he will have to sacrifice to defend. The opponents now have a contain, will expand, and that's 4 bases against 1. In all of the example games where day9 showed this example, day9 reassured that the opponent is weak because they sacrificed for the rush. But in his examples the rush victims lost.
    – tenfour
    Commented May 12, 2011 at 12:00
  • Hehe I guess you have a point there. Did the rush victims really lose in his examples? That would be a terrible example then :)
    – bummzack
    Commented May 12, 2011 at 12:08
  • @tenfour You should edit your question to show that you understand the idea of dying slowly, because that's exactly what I would reply too.
    – tharibo
    Commented May 12, 2011 at 13:13
  • @tenfour If you are on NA servers feel free to add me if you'd like help with your 2v2 game: Harbinger.279 My credentials: sc2ranks.com/us/1017170/Harbinger Commented May 16, 2011 at 23:01

5 Answers 5


2v2 games are a unique beast in the sense that you need to change your style of play. My 2s partner and I used to die a lot when it came to these early quick game rushes, and on the flip side, have rushed others as well to vary up the play style.

You mentioned that you were able to scout that they are doing a rush, you could mix in your ideas of how to survive to get a good counter to a rush. (Going to be using Monlyth Ridge as the example map and your match up as reference PTvTZ)

At 6 minutes (I assume in game time) they can probably have 10-15 marines and 5-9 roaches.

  • If you are confident in your micro, forgo static defenses and simply try to out produce your opponents. At 6 minutes, you can get your defensive 4 gate up. Although it's really close. A mix of stalkers to shoot from the high ground and sentries to hold off the ramp should be able to hold them off. Even a few zealots mixed in there to tank damage while sentries pick away could suffice as well. (So you'd have ~2-3 sentries, 4 stalkers, 1 zealot)
  • You shouldn't be afraid to get sentries and use force field. As a protoss player you want to have a fair number of sentries mixed into your army anyway later in the game. The force field only lasts 8 seconds so it is not a huge amount of time to stop you from going to help your ally. If used correctly you may even be able to trap a few of their units in your base (although against a roach/marine army that would just give them high ground vision so not really helping you there).
  • You mentioned that your ally is terran, there is very little cost to investing in an early bunker or even two (even with the recent patch, he's only going to lose 25 minerals in the long run if he salvages them). So long as your ally is quick on the repair then he should be able to hold off the rush long enough for you to build up an army and flank with him exiting his bunkers to assist when you believe the two of you have enough to take out the attacking army. (Ally if matching opponent would have 10-15 marines as well maybe a little less because of the bunker)
  • I'm not sure how your buildings were laid out, but pylons usually shouldn't be in attackable range, although the new patch doesn't help this point much (which I personally think is a pretty stupid nerf to the race, but I digress). Try to ensure that you have overlap on your production buildings.

Assuming it played out with the above, if the enemy ran to your base first, you force field him off, pick off a few units, or even weaken them as the two of you build up an army to crush the attack since your reinforcements will arrive much sooner than the attacking force. If they attack your ally first they run into a face full of bunkers that are getting repaired and your defensive 4gate should produce enough units to kill that army that they are sending, that or enough to force a retreat.

Going a forge first fast expand with cannons in this case you'd probably need 4 or 5 to just hold off that army if your ally responds quickly enough with reinforcements. Also in this case you are forcing your opponents to either deal with your cannons (with a sentry on the high ground to your ramp to prevent a run by, but if your wall is good enough on the low ground a run by would sustain massive losses) or to attack your ally (who again should have 2 bunkers and since you were attacked first, have ample time to get SCVs down to repair. If you go with the forge first opening I would suggest getting at least 1 sentry and a 2:1 stalker:zealot ratio for the first little while as you'd try to stay close to your cannons when trying to engage.

  • Thank you, this answer made me think a lot and come up with a stronger defense technique. I have described my thought process in my original question.
    – tenfour
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 11:53
  • Glad to see that I could have helped :)
    – Sorean
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 15:18

The answer is actually a lot simpler than all of this.

Stop trying to play as two players. Consolidate your armies. They are doing it, why can't you? To re-iterate: The most important thing is that early on, you should be working as close as you can together to prevent the situation you are describing. Scouting 2v2 (you said you did this) is probably twice as important as in 1v1 (and it's already very important).

In fact, one of the most powerful counters to this is to go on the offensive as one and separate their army.

  • Doing this means defending on open field, removing most of the defender's advantage. So without map-given advantages like high ground, and assuming we're equally skilled players, we will need an equally large army to beat it. This basically means that I am forced to do an ecomony-sacrificing rush as a defense, which is an extreme response. It's also difficult to scout well enough. In 2v2 it's rare for people to early expand so it's impossible to tell whether terran is 2 rax expanding or is going to marine rush. It could be true that I MUST be offensive right away in order to win more games.
    – tenfour
    Commented May 13, 2011 at 21:58
  • You'll have the advantage of being closer to your means of production. I concur that cheese style rushes (10 pool or a cannon rush) are probably a special case that my answer does not cover it. But 6 minutes into the game is far enough to have something to bring together to fend things off. It's a close call, and we definitely have experienced and find these style of attacks difficult.
    – cgp
    Commented May 13, 2011 at 23:29

You have a problem in your assumptions.

You are not supposed to stop the rush. You can't it's 2v1.

You are supposed to delay the opponents as much as possible. Make them busy while your ally builds up his economy/force. He should be then able to easily crush at least one of the opponents and the other one should be behind on economy (or at most equal).

Plus, if you save at least some probes, then you can start slowly rebuilding.

  • I am well aware of the "die as slowly as possible" rule. But that's not practical when the opponent cuts all your production and doesn't bother to kill the rest of your base. The opponent can just leave a couple marines in my base to deny my rebuilding while the rest of the double army kills my ally without any hesitation.
    – tenfour
    Commented May 12, 2011 at 12:42
  • @tenfour Either you bases are so close, that they really can, but in such case it's a normal rush, and it doesn't really matter if you are 2v2, because it behaves exactly as 1v1, or they are further apart and in such case your ally should be in a pretty good shape when they arrive. Commented May 12, 2011 at 12:56
  • I guess part of my point is that this early in the game you don't have an option to die as slowly as possible. You at least need SOME units to do that. If you cannot engage together in a shared base (Discord IV, High Orbit, etc), they can easily kill you with 2 2v1 battles. Even on Gutterhulk the discance between allied bases is not even close to far enough so an ally can hold off both opponents.
    – tenfour
    Commented May 12, 2011 at 13:12
  • ... and when your ramps are "close" like on Khaydarin Depths and Monlyth Ridge, engaging the rush means fighting in open-field; that's why it's not the same as a 1v1 rush defense. Imagine a 1v1 rush defense where you have no high ground advantage.
    – tenfour
    Commented May 12, 2011 at 13:15
  • @tenfour Sorry I actually misread your question, I though that you were talking about rushes, but you seem to be talking about early combined pushes. Rushes can be defeated by probes, their goal is to kill as many as possible. You can't do that on early pushes. Commented May 12, 2011 at 13:24

Turtling won't work out well, it never does. You're stuck to your own base while conceding map control to the enemy. For marines and roaches, only real thing you can do is to get a high templar and back it up with cannons. If you do this, with team work you and your partner can hold them off.

You could also split up the work and have one person go with the forge while the other goes with stalkers and sentrys to force the marines back.

  • 3
    At 6 minutes, templar is not practical. And by turtling I don't mean long-term, but just enough to hold off early aggression and force into mid-game. Basically, if my team is not willing to get ahead by rushing ourselves, then we will get ahead by expanding earlier and denying an opponents' rush.
    – tenfour
    Commented May 12, 2011 at 12:40

A good idea is to send out 7-9 weak recons out while building a large army.If you form a line with recons of ally and you,you will see enemies coming with you and your allies recons, then, use an army about the same size and strength as the enemy to meet with the enemy.If you divide to match power,you can stop a rush before it happens.Me and my friend sent an army of 7 zerglings and 10 marines to destroy 3 banlings and 12 marines.The recons were 4 drones and 5 scvs.We won.3 marines 1 zergling left.

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