This variant of the standard 1rax FE build sacrifices early infrastructure for very fast upgrades, making mid and late game pushes much more effective.
- 10 – Supply Depot
- 12 – Barracks
- 16 – Marine (only 1)
- 17 – Orbital Command
- 17 – 2nd Command Center
- 17 – Supply Depot (Resume Marine Production)
- 21 – 2nd Barracks
- 21 – 2 Refineries
- 24 – Bunker at natural
- 25 – 2nd Orbital Command
- 26 – @75 Gas, start Tech lab and Reactor
- @100% Tech lab, start Stimpack Research (and constant Marine production)
- @250 Minerals, start 2 Engineering Bays
- @100% Engineering Bays, start +1/+1 Infantry Upgrades
- @100 Gas, start Factory, and 2 Refineries at natural
- @100% Factory, start Reactor on Factory, Starport, and Armory
- @100% Stim, start Combat Shields
- @100% Starport, swap off onto Reactor and start double Medivac production
- @100% Armory, start +2/+2 Infantry Upgrades
- Push out when your first Medivacs pop (@9:45ish) with Stimpack, 2 medivacs, +1/+1, Combat Shields, and around 30 Marines.
When you send your scouting SCV, look for the number of gasses your opponent has, their Nexus energy, and also the units they are producing out of the Gateway. If he only has 1 gas before his stalker pops, check to see whether your opponent gets his natural at around 5:15 (You can hide your SCV nearby and then run it in around 5:30 to check for an expansion later if need be). If he has 2 gas or is not spending his chronoboost, then be wary of any sort of early attack. The different common responses to standard Protoss builds are:
Nexus First: Play normal. However, you also have the option to either Bunker rush with 4 Barracks instead of getting your 2nd CC OR stop making marines after your 3rd Marine, get your 3rd CC before 2nd Barracks, and resume this build using the extra base for more SCV production and mules in order to get a leg up in the macro game.
Double Gas: Favor Thorzain’s 1rax FE Variant if you feel unsafe. Thorzain’s build opens the same way for the first several minutes, but makes more Marauders and early game units to stay safer against early aggression.
Double Gas, No Expansion by 6:00: If you still have stuck with this build after scouting double gas, then get 3 Bunkers (and a Missile Turret if you haven’t ruled out DTs) at your front. Pull SCVs to repair and provide a meat shield as necessary.
1 Gate Expand: Play normal. Be wary of early 3 or 4 gate attacks off of two bases that hit before Stimpack finishes, so throw down another bunker if you feel uneasy.
- Because this build produces less early game units than most other 1rax FEs in order to afford the double upgrades, you are quite unsafe against an aggressive Protoss player or one who gets 2 Assimilators.
- Instead, switching over to Thorzain’s 1rax FE Variant (which has the same opening up until you finish your first Tech lab and Reactor) if you feel unsafe is a good way to continue playing standard but with more units for safety.
- To confirm that your opponent is not all-inning you, have an SCV (or scan) go to his natural just before the 6 minute mark. A 4gate will hit before this timing, but 2 bunkers and repair should be able to hold a 4gate easily enough; all other all-ins hit much later and this scout will give you enough time to mount an appropriate defense.
- Getting double upgrades this fast and staying on two Barracks really weakens your army early on – so much so that the standard 2 Medivac timing attack with this build is not designed to kill your opponent, but rather merely to take map control.
- In case you are forced into a fight with Protoss when you only have your first two Medivacs, favor keeping your units alive over sacrificing them for a Nexus or Robotics Facility snipe.
- With such low infrastructure, you can’t actually afford to replace lost units that quickly. Until you have all 5 Barracks completed with appropriate add-ons, your ability to replenish your army is much smaller than other 1rax FEs (especially Bomber’s variation).
- The major strength of this build is the very fast upgrades. Do NOT miss +2/+2 or +3/+3 going into the mid and late game. Take advantage of these upgrades by timing your late game attacks to line up with completing upgrades.
As you’re pushing out, you will need to place down your 3rd CC, 3 more Barracks, and a Ghost Academy or 2nd Starport to counter your opponent’s HTs or Colossi. With your fast upgrades, try to place down the 3rd CC first in order to rush to the late game with an upgrade advantage. However, if you lose a lot of units due to Protoss pressure or a failed drop, then adding on the extra Barracks earlier and going for a two base all-in timed with +2/+2 can be very effective. Transition into 3 base bio with Ghosts/Vikings when you can afford it.
Pros and Cons
This 1rax FE variant favors early passivity and quick upgrades than the standard 1rax FE. You kick-start double upgrades ridiculously quickly, almost ensuring that you have the upgrade lead in battles during the mid and late game. Thus, in the mid and late game, your army will be a lot more powerful than a standard 1rax FE.
However, in order to afford these early upgrades, this 1rax FE variant can afford only 2 Barracks before Medivacs are out and is thus very susceptible to 1 base all-ins such as Void Ray or 4gate Blink+Obs all-ins. Because of this, scouting your opponent making 2 Assimilators is a good sign to switch over to Thorzain’s 1rax FE Variant (which has the same opening up until you finish your first Tech lab and Reactor) for more safety. Even 1gate FE into 3gate pressure is hard to deal with because of the low Barracks count and the fast add-ons. Also, once you push out with your initial 2-Medivac timing, you don’t have the standard 5 Barracks to fall back on in case you lose your army or a drop goes awry. Those extra 3 Barracks have to be added on a lot later than a normal 1rax FE because of the earlier upgrades, so losing your army to a good blink, a nice force field, or unexpected Colossi will result in a quick loss to any counter attack at all – up until all 5 Barracks are build with their appropriate add-ons.
Because this build is so incredibly weak against 1 base pressure, it is much stronger on maps where your opponent is less likely to all-in you. Also, it is a macro-oriented build, so it is also much better on larger maps where mid game pressure is harder to pull off.
- Entombed Valley
- Condemned Ridge
- Antiga Shipyard
- Newkirk District