When you are playing as protoss you may wish to rush using the powerful zealot early on to overwhelm your enemies. What I do is train probes until I get to the seventh probe which makes a pylon... Now I train a few more probes depending on my funds.. you want to have enough money to train at least one gateway soon as the pylon is complete. When the pylon is complete snag a probe and make another gateway, if you have enough/nearly enough (wait a bit) and make a second gateway. Now send the probe back to the minerals... continue training probes and zealots... try to have two zealots training at your gateways at all times. Make pylons as you need them. When you get some extra minerals make a third gateway and begin training zealots there as well. You will want to take a probe and scout for your opponents unless you know where they are (if its a 4 player map and there are four players all the starting spot will be filled, so if you know the starting spots you can deduce where they are). Now when you have 5-8 zealots attack. If you wait to long you can find that your opponent has prepared for an assault but if you go with too few zealots you can be beaten back. Now continue cranking out zealots if your are playing a zerg you will want to kill them first incase they decide to get mutalisks which can do you some harm. You should have the max number of probes for your minerals going, if you have extra money make a gas extractor and some of the other buildings like a cybernetics core, forge and some shield batteries. Or you can build a 4th gateway and make even more zealots. If you are constantly training at your 3-4 gateways you should have mass of zealots capable of taking out most opponents. If they fail retrain enough to guard your town then rethink your tractics... do not stick with one that isn't working. If your zealots aren't getting the job done build some more advanced units and watch out for air assaults.
Step 1: Know your goal Your goal here is quite simple. Get a foothold, a small fortress in his territory. A little corner of his home you'll call your own. Your agenda here is two fold: Force the enemy to go defensive, by placing a huge offensive threat right in his back yard. Delay the enemy escape from his base. Yep, you guessed it - containment. Your little fortress is not meant to destroy the enemy. You may or may not wish to attempt an actual attack into his base. Its your option, attack is not necessary but should be used if an opening presents itself. In more detail your orders of business are: Deny him an expansion. Delay him teching. Force him to outspend you on defense. Remember, your offensive base is also disposable.Once its served its purpose be willing to scrap it. But force your opponent to spend either a lot of time, or a lot of money destroying it. Make sure you come up at an advantage here. Step 2: "Hey, whats he doing?" Recon as always is key. Once you find out where he is, find out what kind of builds he's performing. If he's going for fast/heavy low tech masses its doubtful you can defend your little fortress while its building - if he finds it. If he's just slow, going tech early, or trying to build an extra strong economy then he's a prime candidate. Make sure to move quick, your first zealots should be in motion towards the enemy the second they finish. Speed is essential. Another prime use of this tactic is as insurance for an early rush. Escort your zealot rush with a peon, build your first pylon before your attack hits. Then if the attack fails, run away to the protection of your soon-to-be-cannons. Don't be foolish, if your heavily outnumbered cancel and run. If your about equal, but his base defenses are too much this should work perfectly. Don't let your early zealots die. You need them to protect your offensive base, and add the "just rush" option to your arsenal. Step 3: Where to Perform and What to Build. Now, time isn't on your side here. You need to move with haste, you need to make a sacrifice for your first offensive cannons, so your lacking either in troops, or defense at home. You should be looking to build as close to his base as passable, since this will offer you the "cheese cannon creep" option. Although easy to stop for your opponent. He'll be forced to build extra defenses to stop it. And extra options are what this strat is all about. But pick a spot depending on confidence, the more confident you are, the closer you should be. At closest, just outside his furthest buildings vision. On a map like temple, you should consider his natural expansion. Or at worst, the mouth of his choke. Remember, defend this little fort while its building. Keep all your zealots there, and move in reinforcements as soon as you can. If he attacks do your best to delay his troops from a) killing your cannons b) killing your defenses. If your cannons come in during this fight, you should be able to tip it in your favor. Be willing to give up at this point with minor losses, don't throw the game away. Consider strongly going goons vs almost all races. With your early garrison of zealots giving your goons support, your forces should be enough to handle almost every early counter. I'd suggest a mild three gate goon build. Don't overspend, you need money for tech and expansions. Just keep goons in mind when your performing this maneuver. Step 4: Now what? Alright, you have two cannons and a pylon, your starting to pump out goons, and you have about enough zealots protecting your cannons. oooh, now what do you do? How do you capitalize? You have four options at this point. Tech hard and fast to reavers, and go drop crazy. Expand like a mad man, and go for a resource edge on your opponent, or if chances present themselves correctly, a cheese cannon creep (this is where you creep forward with your cannons till it starts pounding his buildings, very cheesy, hard to stop once started), and finally: just pump immense numbers of troops, and have them all rally to your offensive base. Attack when you outnumber him. There is no correct choice. What to do depends on your style of play, and what your opponent is doing. If he tries to tech hard, outnumber him in basic units, and rush. If he's going for masses of basic units, tech hard. If he's turtling, expand. Now, if he's doing a nice healthy mix of all - just enough cannons to protect against a cannon creep, a good number of basic units, and he's teching naturally. Then use your judgement. Do what he's afraid of you doing. Remember, unless he completely out techs you, and has artillery in before you do. It'll cost him A lot to kill your offensive base. 3-4 Cannons are fantastic defense. If you can't stop him from killing your base. Make it hurt him to knock it over. Keep him low in tech - or tech faster then him. And finally - always keep an eye out for his expansions. Your primary goal in this strat is to deny him access to expansions. Make this happen. Get your expansion scouts out early, and make it stick. If he gets out of your containment and establishes an expansion, you've just lost an immense amount of leverage: he's no longer in a panic, he feels secure in his game, and equal to you. Don't let this happen. Step 5: "I'll be honest, this is gonna hurt" Now, your ahead either in tech, or economy. Your little base has come under fire from reavers, but your temps stormed the hell out of them. You found a hatchery starting at 12o'clock, and you waited till it was done, and laughed as you slew it. Now, how do you finish him off? Again, it depends on the situation, but by race: General: STAY OFFENSIVE. It isn't enough that he's cut off. Your wet dream is for him to waste money on defenses. Drop, drop, drop. Kill his income with reaver drops and storming shuttles. Don't get cocky, he's down, but he isn't out yet. You want him to turtle up.Keep pressing him, don't ever let the pressure stop. If your an advanced player, go Scouts. Use them to intercept shuttles, and shoot down any airforce he builds. Once you feel comfortable in your air control, over expand. Build reavers to break what ever defenses he has set up, or carriers if you want heavy support. Just because he's trapped, don't stop the offense. Also of high importance, keep observers on hand. Watch whats coming. Use feedback (viscous, viscous spell) to kill his mages. Drop on him like mad. Make him turtle up. Research disruption, and use your scouts to harass static defenses. Did I mention dropping like mad? If your opponent is skilled, he'll be struggling to go offensive, stop him. Neuter him. Oh yeah, drop like mad. You want him turtling. Zerg: This strat is especially viscous against zerg. Its almost impossible for them to stop it once it gets going, and they have few options against it once its finished. Done correctly, this strat will win you many games verses the zerg. Why? One word: Corsairs. The zerg player has two choices, go guardian to knock your base out, or go for a doom drop on your main. Corsairs can neutralize either threat. You get the added benefit of being able to hunt ol's inside his base, and just harass the hell out of him in general. Corsairs here is massive power. Once you've built enough goons to prevent a muta rush. Immediately start going corsair. You should be able to completely molest zerg with this strat, corsairs dominate mutas, and if you keep him contained to one base you shouldn't have a problem with devourers (and even these in small numbers won't tip the fight in zergs favor). Go for archons immediately after for final base assault, and you've cleaned up. Or if he manages to break free, go for dt's. Use corsairs to keep overlords away, and your dt's can go and play. Terran: This strat against terran is incredibly balsy, tanks neuter your cannons and come out early. My greatest suggestion against terran, is to perform this maneuver on your third zealot (after sending both your first and second in the second they were produced to keep him weak). Focus your attacks on his refinery as much as possible, even creeping your cannons over his base. Cannons outrange bunkers without the marine range upgrade. This becomes a battle over gas, if he can get enough gas, you lose, if he can't. You win. I'd strongly suggest starting out by building an assimilator over his gas supply to strangle him ASAP. If he gets tanks, all you did was throw away a lot of minerals. This is viable vs terran. Just be willing to go cheese. Attack very very early, and don't let him build a tank and research siege. This works a frightening number of times due to the dominance of zealots to marines early game. You need to find him early though, start on your first zealot. You'll win many games vs terran with this (although its pure cheese) if you start early enough. Protoss: You need to watch for reavers. Go for drops extra early. Get a couple temps down to your offensive base asap to counter the reavers he's sure to be pumping. I'd suggest going stronger for resource strangle vs protoss. Expand like mad, and continue to deny him an expansion. As in all toss vs toss games, your looking to go for goons hard, and reavers. Carriers are an option later in the game. Its especially important for you to continue to harass a toss opponent with numerous drops in this matchup. The ideal is for you to force him to spend as much on defenses, as your spending on expanding. If he fails to knock over your offensive base early, this should be game set and match. Details (what not to do): This strat can be devastating, it will win you games if done properly. Most people fail to go aggressive enough after they've established this offensive base. You need to keep pressure on your opponent always. Heres some details on what to watch for in an early game: Your offensive base is disposable. Never overspend on it. 8 cannons can stop almost all infantry charges, but if he gets support units in there before you do, you'll have spent 1000's of minerals on buildings he can knock over without taking a loss. Do not let this happen. Use your money for tech, and expansions, not to build more cannons (unless he's a moron). Do not skimp on base defenses in your main. Basic two-three cannons are required to stop a counter drop. Zerg will almost always go mutas vs offensive cannons. You must be capable of stopping this. If you do, this game will most likely be yours. Don't get cocky, and don't let him get out. You've spent a lot of minerals to contain him, don't waste it. Hmm, what else can I do? If your feeling particularly balsy, and the map allows for such things. You can consider ignoring the entire 'main base' idea. If you can pull it off early enough (depends on if you defiantly know where your enemy is, EARLY), build all your buildings near your offensive pylon. But you need to really bust ass (and know where he is from peon 1) to perform this. Also try building everything in the center of (or another strategically important point in) the board instead of at home (Besides your first gate, a forge, and some cannons). This can really be effective. Just learn to treat your main like a resource farm. It lets you react faster to happenings all over the board, and it gives you instant map control. This is especially effective on larger maps. I've had good experiences with this kind of build, try this: 7th peon, pylon 8th peon, gateway 9th peon, forge at 'main' 9th peon, run to a strategic, powerful position, build a pylon in the middle of the map when you have the minerals 12th peon, gateway in center of the map 13th peon, second gateway at center of map. I've had mixed success with this kind of strat. Once again, your gambling. You need to defend two locations at once. If it gets moving, your ahead in map control. If he kills it early you've wasted time and resources on it. I'd definitely suggest giving it a shot a few times though. When it works, its fantastic. Conclusion: Remember, your goal is to slow him down, and scare him. Your opponent should be somewhat scared. If he waits too long to knock down your base you'll have expanded all over the map. If he goes tech too fast, you can overrun his base with basic troops, if he builds only basic units, you'll kill too many of his guys, especially if you get support troops in there before he does. He can't commit to a large attack without breaking through your offensive base. And as long as you get some support units in there asap, it should cost him a lot to break out. This is money you can spend in more important places (tech, expansions). Let him know how screwed he is. Alittle trash talking can tip the scales in your favor. He's already under pressure. Let him know your corsairs are about to hunt his overlords, if you see him try to expand. Laugh at him while you destroy his base. This strat is psychologically damaging. He feels trapped, and he feels like your in control. Make him believe it, drop, drop drop. Enjoy.