What is the Protoss Forge Fast Expand Build?
The Protoss Forge Fast Expand build is a popular opener for Protoss players to use in the Protoss vs Zerg match-up. Without this build, it is difficult for Protoss players to expand even to their natural expansion against Zerg players as the Zerg can use early Zerglings to constantly “run by” the Protoss player’s early units. Zealots without Charge and Stalkers without Blink cannot easily keep up with Zerglings with Metabolic Boost.
This build gets around this problem by using buildings and a unit or two to completely wall off the entrance to the Protoss player’s natural expansion. The Zerg player will have no way to get into the Protoss base on the ground without first destroying one of the buildings that composes the wall. A Photon Cannon is added to destroy Zerglings that attempt to destroy the building wall. The Photon Cannon is placed directly behind the building wall so it cannot be hit by Zerglings.
When to Use the FFE Build
The Forge Fast Expand build is great to use against Zerg players in all situations. You can tweak the build so that you go for a more economic opening on big maps or a more defensive variant on small maps. This build does not work against Terran or Protoss players, so only use it against Zerg.
How to Lay Out Your Base
This picture demonstrates a good FFE base layout:
The ramp shown in the picture is the ramp from the main portion of the map up into the natural expansion. This is the only entrance to the natural expansion on this particular map. Without using the proper base layout, this build does not work. You need to protect your Photon Cannon with your buildings and contain the Zerg from being able to enter your base.
There is a “hole” in the wall between the Pylon and the Cybernetics Core (under construction in the pic above). You can stick a Stalker in this gap on Hold Position in order to prevent enemy Zerglings from flooding into your base. It is devastating to let Zerglings into your base because they can run right past your Photon Cannon and head straight for the mineral line of your main base, so try to prevent them from entering by plugging this gap.
A Good FFE Build Order
Here is a standard order to build your structures in to perform a FFE build:
16/18: Photon Cannon
This is a safer but slower version. You could try to get the Gateway up before the Photon Cannon. This will make your tech faster as you can then get a Cybernetics Core down much faster, but at the same time, the longer you go without a Gateway, the more vulnerable you are to getting attacked.
How to Follow it Up
Once you have set up your defenses and have the right base layout, focus on maximizing Probe production. You want to get both your main base and natural expansion fully saturated as quickly as possible. With your extra resources, start getting down production facilities like Gateways and Robotics Facilities. Additionally, add on important tech structures and research upgrades like +Weapons and Warp Gate Technology.
From here, you can build a small army and grab your third base or instead go right into maximum unit production with a lot of Gateways and go for a big attack around the 10:00 mark of the game. Both strategies are effective.Follow @bytearrays