I have been reading some answers here and it was reference that for the Protoss, a stalker is a more "recommended" first build over a zealot.

Why is this recommended or for what situations? Stalkers have less HP and Zealots are strong against zerglings and can overwhelm marines.

Please list 1v1 and 2v2 scenarios, and explain as though I am a beginner.

  • This will depend on your opponent, your situation (1v1, 2v2?) and your own strategy. Little open ended this way
    – Ivo Flipse
    Aug 18, 2010 at 14:36
  • This will depend on many factors, actually, which is not suited for gaming.se. Voting to close.
    – DrFish
    Apr 20, 2012 at 21:19

4 Answers 4


As mentioned in the Reaper question. You need a stalker to deal with early Reapers as Photon Cannons tend to set you back by too much. However, there is no reason it has to be the first unit you build.

Since a Stalker requires a Cybernetics Core (60 second build time) and it in turn requires a Gateway (which can build Zealots with a 33 second build time) you can easily build a Zealot while waiting for the Cybernetics Core to finish.

So the better question is: "Why wouldn't you?"

  • A Zealot costs 100 Minerals and 2 Psi to build.
  • A Stalker costs 125 Minerals 50 Gas and 2 Psi to build.

Obviously if you can't afford another Pylon and only have 2 Psi to spare it makes sense to cut the Zealot. But consider also the costs to build a Stalker: A Vespean Assimilator (75 minerals), Probes harvesting Gas instead of Minerals, the additional cost of the Cybernetics Core (150 Minerals). These all add up. That said you can (if you play decently) afford both.

Other things to consider. Once your stalker is built what are you going to build next? "Standard" play is usually to add on another Gateway (150 Mineral cost). By cutting that Zealot you can start building a second Gateway before your Stalker is ready. You'll probably also need more Psi at this point, and a Pylon has the same cost as a Zealot. Its worth noting that you should have a better economy once the Stalker is finished (you were building probes this whole time right?), so these things will still be affordable.

So to answer your unasked question: Should you cut the production of the first Zealot?

Try it out! Play a couple times where you build both, and where you only build the Stalker. How much Minerals do you have? Does it feel like enough for the rest of your game plan? Would 100 Minerals help you? Would you rather have that Zealot to help block your entrance?

This all depends on what your strategy is, so what you need to do is try both and decide. They're two options and there is no correct answer.

For reference material here is Tester vs IntoTheRainbow in the Razor King of the Beta Tournament.

  • Game 1 -> doesn't build a Zealot before his Stalker
  • Game 2 -> builds a Zealot first then a Stalker
  • Great advice. To add to this, I personally prefer to skip the first zealot against Terran, but get it against Zerg. The first zealot is absolutely necessary to block your choke to prevent early zerglings from getting into your mineral line, but doesn't offer much help against any early terran units since they are all ranged. Aug 18, 2010 at 17:53
  • @Carl I actually like to get that Zealot vs Terran to act as cannon fodder for a Reaper Rush. I'm usually capped on the number of Probes I can build so having something extra to distract the Reaper is often useful. However, this really depends on the map size. On Scrap Station I don't bother since I rarely need the Zealot.
    – tzenes
    Aug 18, 2010 at 18:02
  • Its sort of strange to look back and see how focused on reapers the game was a year ago. That said, everything I've said here still applies (though you're less likely to have to worry about a reaper).
    – tzenes
    Aug 18, 2011 at 15:28

Stalkers are important to get early against Terran to counter the potential Reaper rush. Reapers can kite Zealots all day long and you'll never even get a hit in, while a Stalker takes almost no damage and kills Reapers quickly.


It is important to scout what your enemy is doing. So assuming you have scouted your enemy already, that's when you decide on what to build first.

For Terran, you usually go stalkers first unless you scout some marauders ahead, in which case, go zealots(and or immortals)

For Zerg, its more zealots than stalkers as they own zerglings and roaches.

For Protoss, just counter with faster building since its evenly matched :P


Going stalker heavy is a conservative and "safer" strategy.

A stalker can defend against a lot of different types of early attacks:

Against Zerg: they can micro zerglings quite easily.
Against Terran: reaper defense.
Against Protoss: they can dance (micro) an early zealot rush.

They don't have the early offensive capability as a zealot, but if you're not rushing or putting on early pressure, going stalker heavy early on is a pretty safe strat.

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