General Overview

This Forge Fast Expand is a very strong economical build that forces your Zerg opponent to either all-in and attempt to break your wall or macro up by taking a fast third.  Once securely on 2 bases behind your FFE, you can transition into any tech/all-in play of your choice.

Forge First Build Order

  • 9 – Pylon, scout
  • 14 – Forge
  • 17 – Nexus
    • Pause Probe production
  • 17 – Pylon
  • 17 – Gateway
    • Resume Probe production
  • 18 – Photon Cannon
  • 20 – 2 Assimilators
  • @100% Gateway, start Zealot and Cybernetics Core

Nexus First 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
  • @100% Gateway, start Cybernetics Core


Because this build delays units for quite some time, scouting is very important in the early stages of the game.  You should Pylon scout (scout with the Probe that finishes your 9 Pylon) to make sure your opponent is not going for an early (6-10 supply) Pool.  If you do see an early Pool, then place a Pylon in your main mineral line and defend your main with a Photon Cannon.  You should also scout to see whether your opponent is taking gas.  If you scout gas, be very cautious for any Roach all-ins or Baneling all-ins.  If you scout a late Pool, then feel safe going for the Nexus First variation.  If the Hatchery is already down when you send your Probe to his natural, check out his 3rd timing and try to delay his 3rd for as long as possible.

Around 4:20 to 5:00, if your opponent wants to keep up with you in economy, he will have to take a 3rd Hatchery.  Thus, send a Probe (if you have none, your first Zealot) to scout for the 3rd around this time.  If you do NOT see a third Hatchery started by the 5 minute mark, prepare with extra Cannons and Sentries for the inevitable all-in.  However, you can also attempt to scout his natural to see if he has all of his gas geysers because a 2 base Zerg player with 4 geysers still has the capability to go for a 2 base Mutalisk play or Nydus play.  In any case, sending your first Zealot to the Xel’Naga Watchtower will give you vision of any early Roach/Ling push coming if you suspect an all-in.  Hold early busts with more Cannons and Sentries.


There are a wide variety of follow-ups to the FFE in PvZ.  While this is less true in HotS than in WoL, it is still largely true.  The most common are going super fast third base, doing a very strong ground-based all-in, or going for Phoenix to harass your opponent and safely secure your third.

Pros and Cons

This build sets you up economically for the midgame by getting a ridiculously quick natural expansion.  It is also quite easy to defend any all-ins because you already have a Forge for Photon Cannons and a wall-off to hide behind.

However, this build delays your Gateway and thus Warpgate Research compared to a Gateway Expand.  Thus, any attacks and tech is necessarily delayed – giving your opponent time to safely take a third Hatchery.

Building Placement

Building placement can’t quite be described in words.  However, here are some guides that will help you visualize how you want to be walling off.

Imgur link of common building placement for all the current ladder maps

Extra Info About Building Placement

Favorable Maps

This build is viable on every map on the map pool because every map can be walled in successfully, so feel free to open with this opener every game.

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


Forge First FFE Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI

Nexus First FFE Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI