Zerg vs Zerg
The first time I was starstruck in a game of SC2 was ZvZ against Idra. I posted “www.TangStarcraft.com” in the game chat, and my website crashed from the his stream viewers visiting. I attacked early and wasn’t given the “GG” that game, but I did get to have a drink with him and others at the NASL Afterparty.
- This guide lets you choose between an aggressive speedling opening or an economic hatch-first opening. Either way, the goal is the same – to reach a perfectly saturated 2 bases so that you can execute a very potent 2-base timing attack with roaches and lings. The attack is certainly a big investment that can win you the game, but there are a few ways to transition into the midgame as well using infestors, hydras, or both.
- A safe opening and super-aggressive approach to the early game…but is it all-in? Well that’s up to you. You can produce speedlings to 31 supply to hit a nice 22-ling timing attack while you spine up to play passive. You could also produce lings to 44 to put on pressure with 42 speedlings. And of course, if you’re feeling frisky or scout a weakness, you can continuously mass lings until your opponent buckles to the constant pressure. However you want to play it, it’s a fun approach to early-game ZvZ!
- Enjoy opening with speedling pressure and seizing control of the game? Good now ramp up the aggression, chug a redbull, and hit a followup roach/zergling timing attack. A common complaint when you open pure-speedling is “if your opponent goes banelings, he can hold it no problem and counter-attack!” If you slip in micro or decision making this is true, but a well-timed roach/ling response to banelings can leave your opponent scratching his head wondering how he could have held it. Be sure to view the stream tutorials on this style above.
-Playing hyper-aggressive doesn’t mean you can’t be greedy now and then. Against an opening who opens macro, sometimes it’s best to squeeze out as many drones as possible to hit an economical timing attack. In this game, I do just that – mass drones to reach a very quick fully-saturated two bases, then move into heavy, heavy Roach/Ling aggression. No third base for you!
- When you open with the 15pool 15gas 17hatchery, it’s up to you how you want to play it out. You can absolutely play an economical style, but sometimes it can be effective to go for an all-in (especially in response to builds that are similar/weaker than yours like a 14gas 14pool expand). This tutorial features two games: One against Serenity, one against Nerchio. Both games involve reaching full 1base mineral saturation (16 Drones) asap, and using your first inject on speedlings to put on some pressure. Follow that up with a double-inject worth of Speedlings, and suddenly you’ve got a very potent, yet semi-all-in, timing attack.
- Early pools can be extremely difficult to hold when you’re doing a greedy hatch-first, but you do have the advantage of having extra drones. Learn the micro and decision-making to hold off these types of early all-in.
- You would think that defending against early pressure with a 15pool instead of a hatch-first would be easier, but in some ways it’s not. You can build earlier Zerglings, but you will have fewer drones to engage. Still, it’s possible to hold off all-ins with solid execution/decision-making.
- A more economic approach to ZvZ than the above strategy guides, this stream lesson focuses on a roach-heavy mid-game with upgrades. You can still open up with that initial zergling aggression, but you wan tto get earlier gas and evolution chambers to start getting ahead in tech and upgrades. When you reach full 2base saturation with the gas, and you’ve started all your upgrades and tech, it’s time to move into LOTS of speed roaches to be defensive or aggressive. Once you safely secure that crucial third base, max out with Roach/Infestor/Hydra by 16-17minutes.
- The opening stages to 42~ supply. Speedling pressure at the 6 minute mark keeps us safe and aggressive, just the way we like it. The key is to defend any early pressure with as minimal an investment as possible (1queen 6 lings defend the ramp to your main and deny scouting). By 5:45, your speed should be finishing and you’re moving out to take map control. Get your lings into his natural and find out what he’s doing. More often than you’d expect, these zerglings are enough to severely punish your opponent or even end the game.
- The follow-up timing to 68~ supply. The first zergling timing attack can be tricky to execute and requires some solid multitasking, but if you follow the steps you can hit again by 9:00 with roaches and zerglings. This is especially potent if they go for banelings, as your roaches will absorb seemingly endless amounts of banelings. Just keep your lings behind your roaches and then a-move when the banelings are gone. You can drone up behind this, or continue reinforcing with units to all-in.
- Didn’t quite take the game down? Don’t panic yet! Aim for full mineral saturation on your 2 bases (32 drones) with 2 gas (6 drones). Get a macro-hatch and build up a massive 3-hatch roach/ling attack. This timing usually has 16~ roaches and insane amounts of zerglings. Once again, you can continue streaming units or transition into macro. Since you’re behind on upgrades, get 2 evo chambers and enough drones to fully saturate all the gas. Get +1+1 and lair, and move into 3 hatchery roaches with +1+1 and roach speed. Don’t forget that overseer scout when your lair is done!
- The 15pool build is safe against any cheese, assuming you know the proper response. Learn how to defend the 6pool/spine, 14gas/pool baneling, and other all-ins. The most important bit of information is always whether your opponent expands at the 4:00 mark. If they haven’t, it’s always a good idea to build a spine crawler at the edge of your creep and transfer it down to the expansion as soon as you can. Additional queens are always a good investment, and walling off the ramp can be the difference between life and death.
- High-level Zerg play requires high-level multitasking. Just as athletes train at altitudes or with resistance to get stronger, SC2 players can use the Team Liquid “Multitasking Trainer” to improve build timings, multitasking, and macro. Don’t overlook this incredibly helpful and relevant drill, I personally use it pretty frequently and I know I’m a better player for it. The biggest reason it’s so effective? It focuses you to look away from your hatcheries while you maintain production!
- It’s not only important to know what to look for at different stages of the game, but also how that information influences and benefits you. Whether it’s early scouting of your opponent’s expansion mineral line, mid-game scouting of their tech, or late-game scouting of their 4th and 5th bases, it’s important to respond to your opponent’s actions. Most of your build should be timed to deal with the majority of pressure, but sometimes scouting additional information can be exactly the edge you need to win.