Starcraft 2 Protoss Build - Cannon Rush with Proxy Gates

Overview of the Build

This Protoss build order relies on getting a probe to the opponent's base unseen, and building a pylon where it won't be scouted until the Forge, which you will build in your opponent's base, completes.

Yes, this is a cheese, all-in build. If scouted too early, your best choice is to cancel anything still building and invest heavily in economy. While it IS possible to recover if you lose nothing more than a first pylon, a point of no return is quickly reached. Worse, if a smart opponent sends any attack forces to your base, rather than trying to destroy your impending cannon rush, you are dead.

Build Positioning

Cannon Built Below Enemy Ramp
Cannon Built Below Enemy Ramp | Source
Pylon and Forge Complete - Start Gateway, and Cannon.
Pylon and Forge Complete - Start Gateway, and Cannon. | Source
Basic Structures up - time to advance cannons towards his base!
Basic Structures up - time to advance cannons towards his base! | Source

The Proxy+Cannon Rush Build

  1. Probes until 10.  Your pylon-building probe will leave for the opponent's base at around 8 supply.  You will be capped at 10 probes until this pylon finishes.  The pylon, in some cases, can be built BELOW the enemy base, where it might be missed by a scout, but still allow the Forge to be built in-base.
  2. As soon as pylon finishes, you should have sufficient minerals for a Forge.  Build that next to the pylon.
  3. Cannon.  This should be adjacent to the Forge such that melee units, such as Zerglings or Workers, cannot get a full surround on it
  4. Gateway.  He'll be pumping out units to stop you, and having your own units spawning there as well negates the defender's advantage.
  5. Cannon.  This cannon should be placed closer to his key structures, namely the pylon(s) powering his Gateway.  His Nexus, though a juicy target, takes too long to destroy.
  6. Additional Pylon
  7. Additional Gateway

Important:  You can actually continue to build probes during this build, such that your economy does not suffer.  You may have to delay some probe production to build your Forge or Gateway, but continue to build probes as money allows, thereafter.

Defensive Tip:  If you do not feel your pylons are threatened, and you still have the pylon-power to continue cannoning his base, try to build at least one pylon in your own base, which could power a cannon if you see him go for your undefended main.

Countering this Build

The key to countering this build is scouting.  If you scout it, try to destroy the enemy buildings in this order:

  1. Probe:  if he doesn't have one, he can't build anything else.  Worst case, you get a time window where he has to send another probe.
  2. Cannon:  You have some time to kill the cannon with 4-5 workers, before it spawns.  Even after it spawns, try to finish it off, even if it costs you workers.
  3. Pylons:  While these are often hidden behind other buildings, if you can get at them and unpower the buildings, you can stop the build easily.

Mistakes made when countering the build include:

  • Not bringing enough probes to attack his structures
  • Forgetting your own macro in your moment of panic (don't forget to build your own gateways

Other tips include:

  • Make a spinecrawler, bunker or forge+cannon outside of the current range of his frontmost cannon, so you can counter-push his advance.  For example, Zealots kill marines easily, but not if they are inside a bunker.  If your opponent tries to put up another cannon, it will be destroyed before it completes if you have something to shoot at it with.
  • As Zerg - make an extra queen if you're running high on minerals and short on larvae.  They are tough, have high attack speed, and have some range (good for killing off any additional probes he might send).

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