The Casual Approach – The Adept

The Casual Approach – Where a former Starcraft 2 commentator, old ICCUP C- BroodWar combatant Liam “DUCKVILLE” Metzeling looks over the upcoming Starcraft 2 Expansion – Legacy of the Void from a more casual ladder warrior perspective.

The Adept is a very intriguing unit that has been introduced to the Protoss arsenal in Legacy of the Void. But for the average Joe on the ladder, how do we use it? What’s the best and worst we’ll get out of throwing these stalwart units on the battlefield?

Overview

The Adept is a tough little unit. With a short ranged attack that hits quite hard on light units, this tanky little thing can be quite an annoyance in early-game matches – sniping tier 1 units, or even grabbing a few workers with very little investment from the Protoss opponent.

The fun doesn’t stop there though. During 1-base and 2-base phases of the game, depending on the cheese factor or perhaps fortitude factor of your opponent, in the Silver to Plat levels you will still commonly see timing attacks based on this unit. They can also be thrown into the mid-late game army compositions as front-line tanking units to replace the venerable Zealot, due to the innovatively named Shield Upgrade which gives them a ghastly 140 shields.

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One of the biggest issues right now with this unit is it’s usage in PvT. Currently Protoss seems strong in this matchup, with the early game quite easily handled by a couple of quick Adepts to knock-out Marines (2 shots only), and possibly even grab a few workers through the mind games of the ability Psionic Transfer. They can then be utilised slightly later in the very devastating Warp Prism drops that a lot of players have been using, taking advantage of the 2-second warp-in, along with the Shield Upgrade to make the Adepts hang around and cause all sorts of trouble.

On the Offensive

These guys are great to use when you’re cooking up some nefarious schemes. Quite a number of silver-gold tier players will grab 2 early gates and pump out a couple of Adepts to cause some havoc in their opponent’s base. All you need to do is get your first gate nice and early, slap down the Cyber core – ensure you’ve got gas coming in! – and then grab a second gate and press that H button to get the Adepts started.

When your little terrors arrive at your opponent’s base, you’ll need to figure out how to start the harassment. Are you going to open up with a Psionic Transfer to bypass the defences at the front line? Or are you going to just bravely waltz in and try and draw your opponent out of position? This is quite matchup dependant, and personally I’d be just marching in against Zerg, and trying to lure against Protoss or Terran – but this really up to you.

Once you’re in and you’re getting some hits in – use F and left click somewhere either away from the incoming fire, or into your opponent’s other mineral line if they have expanded. You don’t need to focus heavily on the transfer itself though – they don’t take damage and can pass through units! Just keep the timing in mind – after 7 seconds, your Adepts will move to the position that the transfer is in.

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Something that will really through some people through a loop is what I’ve dubbed the “420noscopeFake-Out”. The Psionic Transfer has the option to be cancelled – and this is why keeping note of the time (and getting used to the timing without looking) is very important. In the picture above, I’d managed to move around 7-8 Adepts into my opponent’s base, and he was scrambling after the Adepts to keep up and take them down. I’d faked out a transfer back out to the front door, and his Stalkers kept in touch with the transfers, while the actual Adepts themselves walked down to his third base. At the last moment I cancelled the transfer, and picked up another bunch of probes at the third. This is a very annoying and in some cases tough thing to deal with, and people will definitely get caught up with this type of play until you reach higher levels.

Later on in the game you can also put these guys to use via 5 or 6-gate 2 base timing attacks (for any matchup), or possibly by grabbing a Robotics Facility and ferrying over a Warp Prism to warp these bad-boys in and quickly demolishing your foe’s defense. They are also used quite a bit in keeping your late-game army protected at the front by the shield upgrade, along with their ability to hunt down retreating units.

On the defensive

Terran early game can be quite annoying to deal with Adepts and their sheer strength, mobility with Psionic Transfer, and their firepower against Marines. Generally speaking until you build up your confidence – walling is almost a must. The wall will help out in holding them back, and it also abuses their mediocre ranged attack so that you can hit them from afar. Keep in mind Terran players that they will 2-shot Marines (and all workers) so Marines should really never try and 1v1… 2v1… 3v1 and I believe even 4v1 they will struggle as well.

It’s advisable to get a few Marauders out – while they are slow to kill the Adept still – at least they don’t die quickly either. In later parts of the game you may face 2-base Adept builds with Shields, or possibly the infuriating Warp Prism Adept-Drop build as well. Overall you really need to beef up the Marauder count comparatively to the Heart of the Swarm days, because Marines just melt.

Later on you’ll need to ensure that no pesky Warp Prisms get close to your base, as the LotV change to make Prism warp-in 2 seconds is quite commonly being utilised by all players at the moment. A viking or two along with a couple of turrets should suffice.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of a 2-base timing attack featuring Adepts – they are Light so in decent amounts Hellions aren’t too shabby – though Adepts will also make short work of Hellions as well… Stim, Marauders and of course the heal from Medivacs should hold the tide until you can break out and re-secure the map. If you’re going mech you will have to have some kind of wall at the front, because if they transfer onto your tanks then you’re in trouble-town. To be perfectly honest with you I have barely played mech since LotV started because I’ve somehow become un-terrible with Bio and it’s working for me right now.

Zerg players need not be as worried about Adepts as Terrans seem to be right now – but in the silver-gold ranks you will commonly see the 2-gate opening that was far more popular during the start of the Beta. A couple of Adepts waltzing into your mineral line is incredibly annoying, and in low numbers Zerglings will almost always lose to them. If you can scout the adepts coming and get 6-8 lings you should be fine, or alternatively I’ve seen people getting extra Queens. One thing to be very careful of is the balance of defense versus economy. If you drop an early Roach Warren to deal with Adepts, or spam out a lot of Zerglings, your economy will suffer just as much as if the Adepts actually killed workers. You have to scout to see if your opponent goes for the early 2-gates, and if they do you’ll need to grab another queen or two, and if you only see one, maybe two Adepts, keep your cool and just be wary.

I don’t think it’s very common to see Adepts later on in this matchup, for the most part they are handled quite easily by Lurkers, Hydras and to some extent Ravagers – but really late game Protoss players should really be in the air based in my experience.

Protoss versus Protoss is a weird little thing at the moment. It used to be solid Adept play every-single-time in the earlier part of the beta, but in my last 20-30 PvP’s I haven’t seen that style at all. Grabbing a couple of quick Stalkers is normally enough to take care of any Adept play, and another thing you can also do is be mindful of ‘faux walls’ such as the one below. You can do this when you see a transfer coming in, then just cancel the wall once you clean the Adepts up.

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Hopefully this helps out in your usage and defense against Adepts – one really important thing to keep in mind is that you need to keep up your macro back in your base! A lot of the troubles in lower-leagues is that many players will try and do fancy things that they see on GSL or WCS, and then forget about the key thing of macro. It’s better to have a stronger economy than it is to kill 2-3 workers of your opponent. If you’re interested in getting more helpful tips and coaching for Starcraft 2, please send me an email and I’d be happy to recommend some top-notch players who give wonderful advice.

Good hunting!

Esports Contributor for Respawn Ninja. Follow him on @DUCKVILLELOL for all your daily Esports rantings and opinions.

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