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ZvT – Stephano-Style Ling/Infestor/Ultralisks

Stephano-Style ZvT: Ling/Infestor/Ultralisk


If I could choose two adjectives to describe Stephano’s ZvT playstyle, it would be SAFE and ACTIVE, and not the usual words used to describe macro zerg like “reactionary” or “economical”. The basic outline of Stephano’s ZvT style is to hold his fast expansion with drones/lings and finally a spine/queen. Then, he drones up off two bases and builds two evolution chambers zergling upgrades, while periodically adding on more lings to stay safe.

One of the most important things to take away from Stephano is the amount of lings he makes at various stages of the game. So many macro players try to squeeze out economic advantages by cutting units here and there. In both ZvP and ZvT, I’ve rarely seen Stephano make such cuts – instead, he’s extremely active in the mid-game and uses a huge, mobile ground army to safely secure additional expansions. A lot of players play very economically and look for ways to cut unit production to get additional drones and expand/tech earlier, but Stephano doesn’t do this. We see a perfect example at 7:30 in the game against Makaprime, where Stephano crushes Makaprime’s marines, putting him in a very safe position. But he STILL chose to produce addition lings, spread creep, and build a macro hatch before taking a third at 10:15.

He even goes for a very late lair by ZvT standard (9:15) and relies on heavy creep spread and an ever-increasing ling-count (gasless investments) to defend harassment and timing attacks. Once he gets a lair, he adds on an infestation pit and starts taking additional bases while using an enormous infestor/ling army to defend drops or straight-pushes. Finally by the 15minute mark he gets his hive and maxes out between 18 or 19minutes with heavily upgraded infestor/ling/ultralisks. Even though Stephano’s style can be categorized as macro, I think he would agree that zergs should play safe not risky and active not passive.

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– Tang

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