the name says it all pretty much. if the protoss player plans on a 4gate, but turtles his ramp with buildings and zealots, how am I to counter that? the proper counter to a 4gate last I knew was build AFAP and pray. roaches are encouraged but its more luck than anything else as far as I remember. granted its been a loooooooong time since I played (more than a year)

  • 3
    I play Terran, so not familiar with the matchup, plus I haven't played in a while, plus I'm too busy to write a proper answer, but 4gate penalizes economy and thus needs to do damage to the opponent. Why attack when you can just expand and push the economic advantage, while having just enough troops to defend and maybe delay his expansion?
    – Fadeway
    May 6, 2012 at 19:20
  • I believe that's the correct approach. Do the minimum you need to survive while expanding, getting map control, and a powerful economic advantage. The specifics of how to survive a 4-gate are best left to a Zerg expert though. :)
    – Wikwocket
    May 6, 2012 at 20:04
  • It's never been luck. 4 gate is extremely scoutable and highly dependent on which player has superior micro.
    – Decency
    May 6, 2012 at 22:45
  • 1
    There is no luck involved in countering a 4gate. OV sac at 5:30 will tell you everything (as this is the key gateway timing and also lets you scout nexus energy). Scout 4 gates or nexus energy low or CB on core = 3 drones back to gas, speed ASAP, Roach Warren ASAP, cut drones, lings/roaches only. Get up to 3 queens also.
    – hkf
    May 7, 2012 at 0:44
  • This is standard play in PvZ (I wouldn't call it turtling if he isn't building a bunch of cannons), and it just means you can't win with a cheap all-in rush. Expand and prepare to defend and aim to win a longer game. It will take more skill than your early rushes, but that's starcraft.
    – Muhd
    May 8, 2012 at 3:09

1 Answer 1


I think this would be very rare from a Protoss because basically there's no benefit to delaying a 4-gate attack.

Let's think of this from the Protoss side. The point of a one-base 4-gate timing attack is to get the maximum production at the earliest time -- a time when Zerg typically has barely any units. One base cannot sustain 4 gateways worth of production. So Protoss has a small window where this timing attack is most effective, before Zerg has had the time to prepare for it with queens, creep spread, 2-base economy, spine crawlers, and attacking units.

If the attack is delayed, Protoss gives Zerg time to build all these things, nullifying the entire point of the attack. Zerg should be on two bases already by the time the attack was supposed to happen, so if the attack is delayed, Protoss is vastly behind in economy.

If you are vastly behind in economy, the ONLY way to win is to attack immediately and try to kill your opponent. Turtling only puts you further behind, as your opponent (Zerg) expands his empire.

So as Zerg, the simple advantage you have in this scenario is: more economy, more resources. You are ahead in resources which means you can simply do more of everything than Protoss in every way.

So your response to this bizarre Protoss behavior would be: Prepare enough defenses to hold off any potential attack, and use all the rest to put yourself more ahead and guarantee a win:

  1. Keep scouting to see what he's doing. 4 gateways and no attack? Maybe he's throwing in some tech like DTs or stargate. If you scout effectively, there will be no surprises.
  2. Scout for any hidden expansions. Burrow lings at every expo on the map. You can afford these extra units.
  3. Keep a small army at his ramp to delay expansions and scout when he is trying to expand. Keep him scared to move out, so he'll invest in more turtle-style defenses.
  4. Expand, safely. Don't double-expand. It can be tempting to do that but use your resources wisely. You don't need to be on 4-base against 1-base.
  5. Make static defense. Make your bases drop-proof, close off ramps and high ground areas.
  6. Get "just-in-case" tech like a hydralisk den, overseers, burrow, overlord speed.
  7. Use the map control he's given you. Spread creep everywhere, spread your overlords for vision. Take all xel'naga towers.

When you're ahead, you don't need to take risks, and you should play safe because you can afford that luxury. Don't attack him until you are certain it will be A-move-to-GG.

  • Actually I think I misunderstood the question a bit.. maybe you just mean they have been able to deny scouting so you don't know a 4-gate timing is coming? Still, most of what I said still applies. If a Protoss hasn't expanded by the time you must defend a 4-gate, then you don't lose anything by blindly defending a 4-gate.
    – tenfour
    May 6, 2012 at 21:07
  • Yea I wasn't aware it was a 4-gate till it was too late. There WERE some key hints towards it but the turtle came up before I knew for sure and it had been so long since I've played that I was still caught off guard. Your post still goes a long way to answering my question though, hence your checkmark.
    – Ender
    May 7, 2012 at 6:11
  • First time I see the expression A-move-to-GG, nice one.
    – ripper234
    May 7, 2012 at 16:17
  • I don't think it's rare. Building a wall with buildings and (a) zealot(s) against Zerg is stardard Protoss play in this matchup, unless you want to lose every time someone does an early zergling rush, and it only delays the attack by 10 game seconds or so in the case that you scout no early pool.
    – Muhd
    May 8, 2012 at 3:07
  • @Muhd: I misunderstood the question that Protoss was turtling up instead of doing the 4gate timing. I now understand that Protoss is just denying scouting.
    – tenfour
    May 8, 2012 at 7:29

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