PvZ HerO’s Aggressive Stargate Build

General Overview

This build opens with a Gateway Expand and then transitions into light Gateway pressure in order to start the macro game with an economic advantage.  Also, this build gets both a Stargate and a third base quite quickly for a Chargelot/Void Ray or pure Sky-toss unit composition in the late game.

Build Order

  • 9 – Pylon
  • 13 – Gateway
  • 14 – Assimilator
  • 16 – Pylon
  • 18 – @100% Gateway, start Cybernetics Core
  • 19 – Zealot (*)
  • 23 – @100% Cybernetics Core (@95% Zealot), cancel Zealot (*) and start Nexus
  • 21 – Mothership Core
  • 23 – Warpgate Research
  • ————Above is NaNiwa’s Gate Expand Opener
  • 23 – Pylon (at natural)
  • 24 – @50 Gas, start 1st Stalker and 2nd Assimilator
  • @300 Mins, start 2 more Gateways (at natural)
  • @100% 1st Stalker, start 2nd Stalker
  • @150 Gas, start Stargate (at natural if needed to help wall off)
  • Push out with 2 Stalkers, your Mothership Core, and a Probe to set up a proxy Pylon when you start your Stargate (@5:30ish)
  • @100% Warpgate, warp-in 3 Zealots at proxy Pylon and attack; reinforce with Zealots if you are confident in continued success.
  • If you have killed some Queens, then start an Oracle for more harass.  Otherwise start a Phoenix.  At the same time, start 2 more Assimilators and warp-in a Sentry.
  • @100% 1st Stargate Unit, start a Phoenix
  • @100% Phoenix, start 3rd Nexus and Void Ray production
  • Benchmark 1: Assuming you only committed one warp-in to the 3gate attack: when you start your 3rd Nexus (@8:10ish), you should have made 45 Probes, 2 Stalkers, 3 Zealots, 1 Sentry, 1 Mothership Core, and 2 Phoenix.
  • Benchmark 2: Assuming you committed two warp-ins to the 3gate attack: when you start your 3rd Nexus (@8:30ish), you should have made 50 Probes, 2 Stalkers, 6 Zealots, 1 Sentry, 1 Mothership Core, 1 Oracle, 1 Phoenix, and 1 Void Ray.

(*) This Zealot is started for defense against early Zerglings.  If you do not see any Zerglings going to your base when your Probe is about to build your natural Nexus, then cancel the Zealot.  If you do see Zerglings, then finish the Zealot, stay on one base, and get out the Mothership Core instantly for fast defense.

Note: If you are below Diamond league, I would suggest NOT making and then canceling this Zealot.  It is much better to be on time with your Nexus than to accidentally make an unnecessary Zealot that slows down your entire build.


For all early game scouting (before 5 minutes), look under the Scouting section of IMBAbuilds’ write-up on NaNiwa’s Gate Expand Opener.  After the early game, be sure to scout for early Roaches from your opponent.  If your opponent is performing an early 2 base all-in, then warp-in Sentries and make Void Rays from your Stargate instead of being aggressive with your initial 6 units.  If your opponent has taken a third base or shows NO signs of aggression, then be sure to set up your proxy Pylon as soon as you can for the attack to hit before Zergling Speed can finish.

When you are attacking with your initial 6 units (2 Stalkers, 3 Zealots, and Mothership Core), your opponent must defend with whatever units he has.  With this extra scouting information, be sure to react appropriately.  If your opponent has opened with Roaches, then be sure to start Void Ray production earlier.  If your opponent has opened without Zergling speed, then be sure to continue the 3gate attack, reinforcing with Zealots and Stargate units when you can.  If your opponent has opened with Zergling speed, then be sure not to over-commit to the attack; rather, pull back and start your Stargate production appropriately.  Also note that if you kill a Queen or two, you should reinforce with an Oracle first due to your opponent’s lack of anti-air.

Depending on how your attack has gone (especially if your opponent defended with opening fast Roaches), then you might not feel safe to take such a quick third Nexus.  Instead, start a Forge and a few Cannons at your natural in order to play safe.


This build is a macro build, so don’t commit multiple warp-ins to the initial 3gate attack unless you are confident in its success.  Following up with the appropriate Stargate units and taking your 3rd Nexus/extra Assimilators is much more important than dealing a killing blow with these units.

HerO follows up this attack with a Forge and several Cannons at both his natural expansion and 3rd Nexus.  He then starts 2 more Stargates and both Assimilators at his 3rd Nexus in order to make a mass Void Ray army.  With his economic advantage, he ensures that no standard Roach/Hydra timing attacks can kill his Sky-toss army until it is already too powerful.

However, it is also possible to play with an sOs style transition, favoring mass Chargelot and only several Void Rays in order to make a beefier ground army.  Again, start a Forge (or two) for Cannons at the natural expansion and 3rd Nexus as well as for Ground Upgrades.  Then start at least 4 Gateways for a healthy Gateway count and a Twilight Council to begin Zealot Charge before taking your 5th and 6th Assimilators at your 3rd Nexus.  Add in High Templar/Archons instead of more Void Rays as your gas count allows it.


  • Because this is a macro build with only light pressure, commit almost all of your chronoboost on both your Nexus throughout the build.
  • With your initial Stalkers, be sure to clear any stray Zerglings around your base that might scout your build.  Then defend the building proxy Pylon until your first warp-in.
  • As soon as you start your Stargate, you need to send out a Probe in order to set up an aggressive proxy Pylon.
  • During your 3gate attack, use your Stalkers to target-fire any Queens your opponent might use to defend with.  If you can kill a Queen or two, then follow-up with an Oracle to deal a lot of damage.  Also, be sure to use Time Warp on any Queens or Roaches so as to minimize your opponent’s mobility in the fight.
  • Do NOT over-commit multiple warp-ins to the 3gate attack unless you are confident that you can do damage.  Each warp-in that you use slows down your 3rd Nexus timing by at least 20 seconds.
  • If your opponent defends with fast Roaches, then consider starting a Forge and several Cannons at your natural expansion before you take the 3rd Nexus.

Pros and Cons

This macro build is strong because it opens with some light aggression for harassment and scouting, while taking a rather quick 3rd Nexus behind it.  Also, it is a safe Gateway Expand build because your 3gates and Stargate together are enough to defend most early Zerg all-ins.  Finally, this build uses a Stargate for some decent harassment, a deterrent for Mutalisks, and an opening for a strong unit-composition in the midgame.

However, this build requires solid macro while simultaneously performing a timing attack, so may be quite hard for newer players.  Also, this build is somewhat weak against a Zerg who takes minimal losses during the 3gate attack and is able to follow-up with a +1/+1 mass Speedling attack to kill your 3rd Nexus.

Favorable Maps

This build is strongest on larger maps so that your opponent is less likely to Speedling all-in you.  Also, it is stronger on maps with a small choke at your natural wall-off to prevent early Zergling runbys.

  • Overgrowth
  • Catallena
  • Merry Go Round


HerO dominating HyuN with this build at MLG Anaheim 2013

HerO beating Revival with this build on ladder

HerO’s Aggressive Stargate Build Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI