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HOTS Strategy - GrimReaper's Nexus Contain

Updated on October 22, 2012
The Strategy in Action!
The Strategy in Action! | Source

Before trying this this strategy make sure that:

  1. You are playing a protoss player - Zerg and Terran units can too easily overcome this strategy.
  2. You are playing on a map that features the natural being close to the ramp of the main base - Akilon Wastes and Star Station are perfect for this.
  3. You are quite confident with using the sentry's forcefield ability.

The Basics

The principle of this strategy is to build your second nexus in your opponent's natural. In order to survive the drawbacks of the costs for this nexus, you will need to use sentries to forcefield your opponent's ramp and contain him.

Then, start mining from your second base and tech to anything of your choice to finish him off.


- Your opponent will not be able to expand to another base and so you will have the economical advantage.
- Your opponent will not be able to defeat you with a ground force that doesn't* contain either a colossus or an archon.
- Even if you fail to forcefield properly, you will be able to activate the mothership core's purify ability.
- If your opponent attempts to destroy your first base, you are in an easy position to destroy his and survive off of your nearby expansion.

More Specific

As you'll see in the video, the idea of this strategy is to play on the fact that protoss are really prone to being contained by forcefields in their own first base. By having just one or two sentries and a small ground force by the ramp, you can easily make sure that the protoss main army isn't going anywhere: just forcefield the ramp off if he tries to come down the ramp and kill off a few units for free.

What you know when you contain your opponent and take an expo is that he will very soon try to break it. He knows that if he doesn't you'll soon have such an economical advantage that he won't be able to compete in any way at all. Therefore, you know that you must prepare for a bust of your ramp or some sort of harass. Knowing what your opponent must do and that all you need to do to win is survive it makes your job of winning a lot easier.

Although this is a seemingly simple tactic, it's when you actually consider countering it that you realise that if the containing player can micro and pays attention to the minimap he will win.

Breaking the Ramp with Colossus
Giant units like collosi are able to walk over forcefields and break them so that your units can pass. Even if the opponent gets a colossus to counter this build it would still be difficult for him to break the ramp since:

  1. It would take him a lot of time which you can prepare to do a variety of counters to (especially if you see that he is going collosi).
  2. In order to break the forcefield you place on the ramp, the colossus must himself walk on the ramp where all of your stalkers can snipe him off.
  3. Since you have the economical advantage (being on two bases and preventing him from expanding) if he tries to tech to anything you can afford twice as much of that tech as he can.
  4. Even if he does break the ramp with a superior force, the mothership core's purify ability will be able to snipe off collosi (having a range of 13) or at the very least provide a rapid attack at 20 damager per hit.

Breaking the Ramp with Archons
Archons are also giant units and so can also break the ramp.

  1. Archons are very expensive in gas and take quite a long time to tech to so your opponent's ground force will be too weak to actually kill you when he gets down the ramp.
  2. This added with your snazzy nexus cannon and the fact that you have a great concave on the ramp means that the opponent will simply not be able to defeat a ground army of gateway units. Keep in mind though that you are likely to tech yourself.
  3. You can get your own archons and this is in fact advised since you may wish to go up the ramp to finish him off yourself. This would be more viable for you since you have 3 or 4 gases to his 2.

You're welcome to add your own ideas of how the opponent could act in the comments section below!

True Counters and then Counter-Counters to this Build

This series of Starcraft 2 HOTS strategy hubs will also explain how best to act in these situations as the one experiencing these builds, and then the further reaction of the one performing them. The following are correct ways of countering but still require more micro and skill than your opponent.

Blink Stalkers - Since your opponent is at your ramp, you should simply get an army of blink stalkers, keep a sentry on your own ramp to prevent any push up the ramp, and destroy your opponent's main base. His mothership core is at his expo at your natural, so purify won't be possible, and if he decides to recall his army back to his main, then you simply run with your stalkers and take out his natural, since you then have the faster army. After destroying your opponent's base return to your own main base, and attack from both entrances to the nexus in your natural.

What you should do as the container to counter blink stalkers. Blink stalkers on 1 base when you are taking gas off of 2 is very gas intensive and so he will not only have a small amount of stalkers but also probably not have a robo with an observer. All you have to do is have map control (taking all the xel naga towers with probes) and see that he doesn't blink out of his base.

The moment that you see him blink out of his base, attempt to go up his ramp - if he doesn't forcefield the ramp then you will destroy his main base and then be able to clean up his stalkers.

If he does manage to forcefield the ramp, depending on the time of the stalker attack, you should have a giant unit like a colossus or an archon that can break the ramp. Do so and then win. If for some perverted reason you decided to go all gateway units (a 6 gate) against your contained opponent, do the following:

Forcefield the top of your main base ramp so stalkers can't blink up it (this works), build up a small army in your main base and keep force fielding whilst teching to a giant unit to break the main base ramp of your opponent. Note: if you fail to forcefield your ramp whilst your opponent manages to forcefield his own ramp then he will win.

At that point it's safe to say your opponent out-micro'd you and you deserve to lose!

A Summary of Key Points

  • Have good map control
  • Scout your opponent
  • Be good with forcefields
  • Keep the mothership core by your nexus at the opponent's natural
  • Do not attempt to save your main base if your opponent tries to attack it with blink stalkers - kill his main base instead.

A Replay Example of This Build by GrimReaper - Action starts around 2:30

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