Strong Protoss Anti-Air?
Related: Whats the Best Counter for Void Rays
What's a good Protoss AA strategy? Last night I got rolled by mass void rays, even with a sizeable stalker army defending alongside cannons, My Terran ally at the time lamented that if he'd thought to go Thors he could have countered the push, Other than stalkers the only supposedly good Protoss AA counter I know of, is Phoenixes, which I find require either too much micromanagement, or are just not powerful enough: They work great for harassment of Overlords, and for targeting Terran medivacs or ravens (Basically, they are great against units who can't shoot back) but they just get slapped out of the air far too quickly to be useful, by anything that can actually attack air units (Void rays, Mutalisks, Vikings), Void rays are useful en-masse, but as a fairly expensive light unit, they still get wrecked by vikings and mutas most of the time
Since the last question was more about Void Rays I concentrated on more diverse Protoss Anti-Air
Since Protoss strategies usually revolve around heavy gateway units, Stalkers are more or less a must in anti air confrontations. The most important rule of Stalkers is: unless you are chasing, never blink into battle. This is key, because as a tool, blink is far more effective as running away or chasing than it is as an opener. Stalkers are a very fast unit, so the only time you should ever feel the need to blink into an enemy is when they're running away.
Blinking away has two important aspects to it:
- Mass Retreat
- Moving the Front line back
While retreating is often times a necessary thing, it's the latter, that makes blink such an effective tool. When you find yourself against engaged in a battle, you'll usually notice that your vanguard (front units) take the brunt of the damage. If you blink them away as they take damage, the damage will spread more evenly over your whole force and your Stalkers will continue to do damage from longer periods of time.
If your build is designed around Air units there are two important things to remember:
- Phoenix can shoot while they move
- Void Rays can shoot while they move
Most people don't know the second one. The key to any Protoss air confrontation is to make it a mobile one. This is why the speed upgrade for Void Rays is so crucial. Now Phoenix and Void Ray have different use cases, Phoenix are effective against light, and Void Rays against armored. Based on what your opponent is going you have to adapt. If you're seeing Muta heavy, go Phoenix. If you're seeing Viking/Corruptor go VR. In a PvP its usually whoever has better macro or more upgrades who triumph... you know, unless you get High Templar
Usually built out of an early 4 gate strategy, HT are one of the most powerful units in the game. Psionic Storm needs no introduction, but don't forget about Feedback. Feedback has the unit property of being amazing against unexpected units. Allow me to list a few:
- Ghosts (no surprise)
- Infestors (no surprise)
- Dropships (wait what? healing uses energy?)
- Phoenix (how do you think they lift)
- Ravens (as well as point defense drones)
- Battle Cruisers (Oh yeah!)
- Even Mothership
I have definitely had games where I won with just HT/Zealot just because of how versatile this unit it. What's more they can easily be transformed into damage soaks (Archons) to break Siege Tank of Void Ray lines.
Having trouble against Mass Void Ray? Strangely enough Psionic Storm is surprisingly effective against Void Rays. Because of the charging nature of their attack, many players won't immediately move their Void Ray out of danger.
As always, the key to beating a PvP army often lies in doing something unexpected while your opponent is doing the expected. Use Observers to try and retain the advantage in the game of information warfare.