Data-diving my way to a winning Gold-league PvZ build

PvZ has been my weak spot for a long time.  Very frustrating, and I felt like I had no idea what I was doing.

I finally buckled down and took a deep dive into the data, looking for a strat that would work for a Gold-league scrub like myself.  In particular, I was looking for a strat that would work from silver/gold up to gold/plat and didn't require an APM over 80.

My site GGTracker has millions of replays, and there are several thousands of PvZs in there played since the last patch (March 1st) and in my league range.  Zergs win ZvP in Gold/Plat about 55% of the time, since March 1st.

Then I split up the games by what time Protoss completes their natural expansion.  The majority of Protoss complete their Nexus at 6:00 or later (meaning they start it at 4:20 or later), and those players lose 60% of the time.

FlatlineSC2's 1 GateFE into 4 Gate Pressure into Immortal/Sentry All-In starts its Nexus at 3:50, finishing at 5:30.  That seemed like fun to me, and the PvZ winrate associated with that timing wasn't as bad.

In that build, the all-in immortal/sentry army moves out around 10:00, so I used that as a benchmark: 45+ workers, 6+ sentries, 2+ immortals.  Of course the GGTracker replays might be a biased sample, but in those 92 games, the Protoss wins 80% of the time.

I like those odds!

After practicing twice against the AI, I played the strat on ladder and...   I won!

I realize that "Immortal/Sentry" is nothing new.  What was new to me was:

  • confirming from data that it actually works in the Gold-league range (after all, some strats are solid but require too much multi-tasking or micro to work in Gold)
  • confirming that the win rate is relatively APM-independent (at APMs of 60 or above, there is no clear relationship between APM and win rate for this strat)
  • being able to watch a bunch of gold-league level replays of people playing this strat, to see exactly how they scouted, protected their expansion, how many gateways, and all the other little details.

In my particular game, the immortal/sentry push at 10:00 did a lot of economic damage, but due to my crappy micro and army positioning I wasn't able to finish the game right then and there.  After another so-so push at 21:00, some proxy zealots spied that he was going broods, so when his brood army showed up, I was ready with voids and stalkers and he had a bad time.

What do you think, is this strat actually viable or am I being fooled by these 92 games?

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