PvZ Dear’s Phoenix into Colossus Play

General Overview

This build opens with a Forge Fast Expand and then gets several Phoenix for map control and scouting.  While you are using the scouting Phoenix, you transition into Colossus play in order to secure your third base and set up a stable midgame OR all-in your opponent with a Stalker/Colossus/Phoenix army.

Build Order

  • 9 – Pylon, scout
  • 17 – Nexus
    • Pause Probe production
  • 17 – Forge
  • 17 – Pylon
    • Resume Probe production
  • 18 – Gateway
  • 19 – Photon Cannon
  • 21 – 2 Assimilators
  • 25 – @100% Gateway, start Cybernetics Core and Zealot
  • ————Above is Nexus First FFE Opener
  • @100% Cybernetics Core, start Warpgate Research, 1st Sentry, Stargate, and 2 more Assimilators
  • @100 Gas, start +1 Ground Weapons
  • @100% Stargate, begin Phoenix production (up to 5) and 2nd Sentry
  • Benchmark: When your Stargate finishes (@6:40ish), you should have 1 Zealot, 1 Sentry, and 40 Probes.
  • @450 Mins, start 3 more Gateways and a Robotics Facility
  • @100% +1 Ground Weapons, start +1 Ground Armor and a Mothership Core
  • @100% Robotics Facility, start Robotics Bay and Immortal
  • @100% Immortal, start Observer
  • @100% Robotics Bay, start constant Colossus production and Extended Thermal Lance
  • Benchmark: When your Robotics Bay finishes (@10:20ish), you should have 1 Immortal, 1 Observer, 5 Phoenix, and around 6 Zealots/2 Stalkers/2 Sentries with at least 50 Probes.


For early game scouting (pre-5 minutes), please refer to the Scouting section of IMBAbuilds’ PvZ FFE guide.  After any early game shenanigans are ruled out, as you have spotted your opponent’s third Hatchery going down, the rest of your scouting will come from your Phoenix.

Use your Phoenix to first pick off every Overlord on the map that is undefended by creep/Queens.  Then use them to poke around your opponent’s base – picking up units not protected by Spore Crawlers/Queens.  Be sure to focus on what tech structures you see your opponent making.  If you spot a swell of Roaches, stay on 2 bases and consider extra Immortals.  If you spot a Hydralisk Den, be sure your Robotics Bay is constantly producing Colossus.  If you spot a Spire, instantly get a Twilight Council and go for Blink/+2 Ground Weapons while you resume Phoenix production from your Stargate.  You might have to cancel your Colossus production.


This build can either all-in off of 2 bases or safely secure a third base to comfortably play a macro game.

If you are choosing to all-in with this build, be sure to go up to 8 Gateways and 3 Colossus with Extended Thermal Lance before moving out.  Constantly reinforce with Stalkers as you use your +1/+1, 3-Colossus, 5-Phoenix, 8 Gateway all-in to crush through a Roach/Hydra based army.  Watch out for Viper play, though!

If you are choosing to play the macro game, timing your third base is tricky.  Dear warps in a lot of Zealots from his 4 Gateways before securing his third if he sees any amount of units on the map with his constant Phoenix scouting.  If Dear doesn’t see any Roach/Ling force out on the map (as in game 3 of Dear vs Soulkey), then he will take it even before his first Colossus is started.  As you take your third base, set up a Cannon defense surrounded by Pylons/Gateways to help with Zergling runbys as you tech up into the late game.  Getting a Twilight Council to continue +2 Ground Weapons and Blink is a solid way to both deal with tech switches and set you up for a 3 base attack.  Be sure to spend your excess minerals on proxy Pylons and Zealot runbys to keep your opponent’s base count in check.


  • Spend all of your early game chronoboost on your two Nexus to maximize Probe production.
  • The exact FFE build order you use is up to your personal preference.  Dear has performed this build after a Forge First FFE, Nexus First FFE, and a failed attempted Cannon Rush.
  • If possible, hide the Stargate somewhere in your base that is less likely to be scouted by an Overlord.
  • Chronoboost your Stargate to get out those Phoenix as quickly as possible to deny any Overlord scouting of your follow-up Robotics transition.
  • A main strength of this build is its versatility, but you can only be versatile if you have the necessary scouting information.  Scouting your opponent’s tech path and army production with your Phoenix is crucial.
  • If you spot your opponent playing very greedy, you can choose to warp-in all of your Zealots from your 4 Gateways aggressively and hit a +1 Zealot/Phoenix timing while continuing the build at home.  Dear performed this attack in Game 4 of the finals against Soulkey.
  • Chronoboost your Robotics Facility to get out your Colossus as quickly as possible and set up a solid midgame army.

Pros and Cons

This build is an incredibly versatile build that can be used as a macro opener or a 2 base all-in.  It gets out early Phoenix for scouting and map control while transitioning into a solid ground based Colossus midgame.

However, this build requires a lot of APM and focus in order to execute.  Reacting to your opponent’s tech choices and unit composition while macroing at home is not easy.

Favorable Maps

This build is strongest on any map on the map pool.  However, it is suggested that you follow-up with an all-in on the hard-to-secure third base maps and choose to macro on the easy-to-secure third base maps.

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


Dear performing this build against Jaedong at the WCS Global Finals 2013

Dear beating Soulkey with this build at the WCS 2013 Season 3 Finals (last 2 games)

Dear beating soO with a variation of this build in the WCS KR 2013 Season 3 Finals

Dear’s Phoenix into Colossus Play Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI