Zerg Guide


For your opening build and strategy you may choose to do a safe all-encompassing build that easily transitions based on what the first few moves your opponent makes and what your scouting reveals. You may also plan your first couple moves by building for what your opponent is likely to do based on which race they are. Whichever your strategy you need to know how you plan to transition down several different paths based on how those opening minutes progress. Having this all planned out ahead of time so you're not second guessing yourself when it comes time to make those decisions is crucial.

6-10 Pool

Let the aggression begin!

A common opening strategy that can vary from rush to defense is what's referred to as a 6 Pool, 8 Pool, 10 Pool, etc. The number preceding the word 'pool' refers to your supply, or effectively how many drones you have, prior to building a Spawning Pool.

A 6 Pool is generally considered cheese because you're looking to get some Zerglings out extremely quickly and sacrificing your economy, which is ever important to a Zerg player, to do so.

An 8-10 Pool is a safer play which can be used for aggression or defense accordingly. Used aggressively it is most effective against a Protoss player who can't wall off their ramp completely and is late with their first couple Zealots.

Getting early Zerglings can allow you to simultaneously pressure and scout or simply stay put to defend, adding a spine crawler, if you're looking to fast expand or simply tech up. See our Builds section for the specifics.

7 Roach

A roach laced with acid? Where can I get one?

The 7 Roach push allows for a fast expansion and a quick transition to a lair if you so decide. A very common strategy it can end a battle against a Terran player with only Marines, a Zerg player with only Zerglings, or a Protoss player trying to tech.

Not considered an all in rush though it's merely meant to put your opponent in a defensive stance adjusting to deal with your roaches while you expand and gain the economic advantage. For this reason having this build scouted by your opponent is perfectly fine. It is safe against all races and aggressively effective against Terran and Zerg.

Vs. Terran

Assuming your Terran opponent is going for a bio ball you can safely open with Zerglings or Roaches. If you choose the Zergling path you should poke in with your first 8 – 12 units and see what you can rustle up. Bannelings are a good transition from here to get that splash damage that devastates bio armies.

Spore Crawlers and Queens are your earliest defense against any sort of Banshee harassment, which is common, so pay attention and make sure 1-2 Banshees doesn't catch you severely off guard and undefended in the early stages.

Mutalisks are a good transition for a Terran opponent sticking with a bio army. Use them to pick off Medivac drops and dominate the map.

Always be scouting and if your Terran opponent is going with a mechanical build, as can be prevalent against Zerg, then Roaches are your best early force utilizing Infestors as the game progresses. Infestors' Neural Parasite ability can turn the expensive mechanical units against their maker and the 30% increased damage of Fungal Growth on armored units can level the playing field for your other units to finish the job.

Vs. Protoss

As Protoss production is initially slower in StarCraft 2 and Zerg has a superior economy it's common to push out with a Zergling rush. Zerglings are effective against Stalkers though less effective against Zealots. A Protoss player has to wall in their ramp with Plyons and/or Gateways with a Zealot filling the gap. If they do not do this correctly you should absolutely punish them for it and hit their mineral line with your Zerglings. If they're slow on the initial Zealot production get their pylon before the Zealot can make it out and from there you'll have to kite the Probes for the victory. It takes about 4 lings, with no surround, to take down a Zealot.

Most players will transition to Hydralisks as their primary anti air unit since Stalkers are pretty tough against Mutalisks. Hydralisks are slower than Stalkers though so having Creep spread effectively is important to increase their speed.

Roaches continue to remain strong in the midgame. Once the Protoss player gets Colossi though you'll need to add in Corruptors to hard counter them, so even if you go with Hyrdralisks you'll need a Spire eventually.

Hey! You put him down!

When attacking or defending make Sentries a primary target as their Force Fields can split up your forces or block your reinforcements on a ramp which can easily be the deciding factor in a battle. Roaches with Tunneling Claws can burrow under the Force Fields if you get stuck.

Lastly you should always get an Overseer to prevent any Dark Templar harass or attacks. A combination Spore Crawler and Spine Crawler at your expansions can help keep them protected from this as well.

Vs. Zerg

Scout constantly and be ready to adapt. Visibility is very important given the high mobility of both of your armies.

Standard opening strategies of Zerglings or Roaches will both work well. If you opponent is sticking with heavy Zergling counts grab a Banneling nest and evolve your Zerglings.

Roaches are the common go-to unit when facing another Zerg. They're cost effective and do significant damage to the other bio units likely to be produced. Keep in mind your opponent may be using this same strategy and adding in Spine Crawlers for defense and keeping an Overseer with you for burrow play can tilt the favor in your direction.

Mutalisks are a popular transition strategy as you can hunt down your opponent's Overlord population while also keeping tabs on, and shutting down, their expansions. Corruptors are the obvious counter to this play so supporting them with Hyrdralisks can be a great combo.

If your opponent is using the same tactics get some Bannelings in there against the Hydralisks. Infestors are really only useful if they can go completely undetected, which doesn't happen often, or if you use their Fungal Growth wisely.

Like shootin fish in a barrel...

Bottom line is that you've got to be scouting your opponent regularly and be prepared to adapt constantly as in Zerg vs Zerg play in StarCraft 2 the dynamics can constantly fluctuate given the strong economies and rapid production of both parties.

We'll move into the mid game... Next>>>

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