PvP Dear’s Flexible Phoenix Expand

General Overview

This build opens with a Stargate for Phoenix and some early ground units to provide the infrastructure necessary to react to every build an opposing Protoss might throw at you.

Build Order

  • 9 – Pylon
  • 13 – Gateway
  • 15 – 2 Assimilators
  • 16 – Pylon
  • 18 – @100% Gateway, start Cybernetics Core
  • 21 – Pylon
  • 21 – @100% Cybernetics Core, start Warpgate Research, Sentry, and Mothership Core
  • @150 Gas, start Stargate
  • @50 Gas, start Stalker
  • @400 Mins, start Nexus
  • @100% Stargate, start constant Phoenix production
  • @300 Mins, start 2 more Gateways
  • Benchmark: When your Nexus finishes (@6:45ish), you should have 3 Phoenix, 1 Sentry, 1 Stalker, a Mothership Core, and around 23 Probes.


Being active with your initial Stalker around your natural and third will help keep you aware of any super early aggression.  Just be sure to pull your Stalker back to the protection of your Sentry quickly if you have to defend an early attack.

The majority of your scouting comes from your Phoenix.  Your Phoenix should be able to get into your opponent’s main base and determine what tech route you see your opponent going.

  • If your opponent is expanding quickly, then feel safe while applying some light harass with your Phoenix.  You can dictate the pace of the game by committing to a lot of Phoenix or starting a Twilight Council or Robotics Facility and defaulting back to a Chargelot/Immortal/Archon midgame.
  • If your opponent has a Robotics Facility, then be sure that deal some economic damage with your initial Phoenix.  Either commit to Phoenix and Void Rays or default back to a Chargelot/Immortal/Archon midgame.
  • If your opponent has a Stargate, then be sure to not take damage against early Phoenix or Oracles by initially positioning your units defensively.  Getting a healthy Phoenix lead against your opponent will most likely be enough for you to end the game.
  • If your opponent has a Twilight Council, then consider getting a Robotics Facility instantly in order to make one Observer for detection against DTs.  Alternatively, you can position your units with an Oracle at your main ramp and defend for a while.  Regardless, do not make more Phoenix and instead transition into a Chargelot/Immortal/Archon midgame with your economic advantage.


This build is a very safe opener that gives you the scouting capabilities and infrastructure to react to any build your opponent can perform.  However, the actual steps you take to transition into a stable midgame often depend completely on what tech choice your opponent has chosen to open with. This is why scouting with your Phoenix and generally being active on the map (perhaps with a delayed scouting Probe) is crucial.

In Stargate vs Twilight macro games, harass your opponent with your Phoenix, but transition out of Stargate units into an economic Chargelot/Immortal/Archon midgame as soon as possible.  In Stargate vs Robotics macro games, again harass your opponent to keep your opponent from ever moving out before you get a healthy Chargelot/Archon count up.  Keep tabs on your opponent’s tech switches so that you transition into a late game army appropriately.  In Stargate vs Stargate macro games, position your Phoenix more defensively while you chronoboost your Phoenix non-stop.

The most common way to start the transition into Chargelot/Immortal/Archon is by starting a Robotics Facility and 2 more Assimilators, followed by a Twilight Council and Forge for +1 Ground Weapons and Zealot Charge.  Add on the Templar Archives and Archons when you can afford it.


  • Once you start your Mothership Core, save your chronoboost so that you can dump it all into Phoenix.  There is no need to chronoboost Warpgate (unless you spot your opponent going for very early aggression).
  • Poke around your natural and third base with your initial few Gateway units to stop a Probe from setting up a proxy Pylon and allowing for a very early attack (such as a 4gate or Trap’s 3gate All-in).
  • Against Stargate play, position your Stargate units defensively around your mineral lines to defend potential Oracle or Phoenix harass.
  • Otherwise, always be active with your Phoenixes. The main priority for the Phoenix is to get scouting information, for only when you have a full read on your opponent’s build can you can start chronoboosting probes and enter the midgame.
  • Even though you open with a Stargate, transitioning into a Chargelot/Immortal/Archon unit composition in the midgame can be very strong.
  • When entering the late game, however, be sure to produce Tempest from your inactive Stargate–especially against a Colossus-based opponent.

Pros and Cons

This build is a versatile, economic build that can harass your opponent and provide the scouting information necessary to defend a fast expansion.  Also, your Phoenix can do terrible, terrible damage to Robo-based build such as duckdeok’s 3Gate Robo, and even perform well in a macro game against greedy builds such as NaNiwa’s Safe Expand.

However, this build requires a lot of scouting information to be executed effectively.  It also is quite difficult to defend early attacks if you do not kill your opponent’s proxy Pylon.  Finally, early Dark Templar builds can be deadly if unscouted.

Favorable Maps

This build is strongest on maps with a lot of air-space so that you have several paths to poke into your opponent’s base and retreat with your scouting/harassing Phoenix.

  • Foxtrot
  • Catallena
  • Nimbus
  • King Sejong Station
  • Overgrowth
  • Merry Go Round
  • Deadwing


Dear using this build against Zest in WCS KR 2014 Season 1

Mid Diamond Example Replay of this build in action

Dear’s Flexible Phoenix Expand Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI


Check out Altmax’s initial write-up on a related build on the IMBAbuilds Forums right here