CC First in Terran vs Protoss

By Joshua “TriMaster” Niven of Complexity Gaming


Nowadays Protoss players have managed to maximize their efficiency in hitting certain mid-game timings by solely relying on as little units as possible thanks to the Mothership Core’s abilities. Going command center first in TvP is a great way to gain an early economic edge that can help a lot when going into the mid game. At the same time a Protoss player has quite a few options of all-ins and cheeses that any Terran going CC first have to be on point to deal with.

The Early Game

The standard CC first opening for Terran is as follows:

  • 10 – Supply Depot
  • 14 – CC
  • 15 – Rax(1)
  • 16 – Rax(2)

Use the SCV that’s building the supply depot to scout, since continuing on your build order will be based with what opening you find your opponent doing. You should also rally the SCV building the first barracks to the front of your natural so you can rapidly throw down a bunker if necessary.

Scouting to stay safe

When your scout first arrives to the Protoss base there are a few things you want to make sure you check:

  1. Is the Gateway being chrono’d?
  2. What are his gas timing?
    • Did he take both of his geysers or just one?
    • How much gas did he mine?
  3. How much energy does the Nexus have?
  4. How is he spending the chrono after his cybercore completes?
  5. Check for an expansion

1. If you see the gateway being chrono’d you want to make sure you are prepared in case he goes for early aggression. This is a situation where you want to throw down a bunker at your natural ASAP and try to get some marines into the bunker if possible. You should be able to get at least the first wave of marines in but after that you might want to consider moving the barracks rally above your ramp in case the Protoss try’s to run past your bunker with a zealot/stalker/MSC combination. If the Protoss does run by into your natural you should wait until you have enough units to push him out, or if he runs straight to your main you will want move your marines into the mineral line and pull workers when he gets in close to engage.

2. Checking the gas timings gives you an idea on what the Protoss player’s plan are for the game. 2A gives you an idea on how gas dependent of a build they will use, while 2B gives you a feel for the timing of when the gas was taken, either a 12/13 gas or a 15 gas.

3+4. Checking Nexus energy is important, since if he has a lot saved up it could indicate early aggression. Watching to see if chrono is spent evenly between the gateway and nexus which can lead to early aggression, or more rarely if the chrono energy is being dumped on the cybercore which would usually lead on to early warpgate play.

5. Its hard for a protoss player to cheese when expanding at the same time.

-A note about bunker timing, if you really would like to play it safe you can instead automatically throw down a bunker before actually scouting or starting both orbitals, and just scout at a later supply so your orbitals won’t be very delayed. Regardless you should throw down a bunker since it is needed to handle most Protoss builds, the comments I’ve made above are just there to help give you an idea on the time window you will need it.