Unit Spotlight: Hydralisk

Statistics

  • Cost
    • 100 Minerals 50 Gas
    • 2 Supply
    • 1 Larvae
  • Combat
    • Weapon Ground/air
      • Damage: 12 (+1)
      • Cooldown 0.54
      • DPS: 22.4
      • Range 5(+1 with muscular augments)
    • HP 90
    • Base armor: 0
  • Sight: 9
  • Speed: 3.15 (+0.7875 with muscular augments)
  • Speed on Creep: 4.09 (+1.0275 with muscular augments)
  • Cargo size: 2
  • Tags:
    • Biological
    • light
  • Upgrades:
    • Muscular augments
      • 150 minerals
      • 150 gas
      • 71 seconds
      • increases the hydralisk range by 1
      • increases hydralisk move speed by 25%

Strengths

Hydralisk is the most mobile ground to air, high dps unit the Zerg has access too. While the new infested terrans and queens can provide better ground to air damage, they are slow and do not have the mobility of the hydralisk. Corruptors or in some situations mutalisks can provide better mobile anti-air damage through the air.

Hydralisks main strength is a relatively long range and high DPS allowing them to be good damage sources in the mid-game.

Strong against:
phoenix
void rays
warp prism
medivac
vikings
hellbats
immortals
stalkers
marauders
widow mines
mutalisks
corruptors

All popular Zerg compositions which have hydralisks in the mid-game require a unit to tank damage for the hydralisks so that they can have enough time to do damage. The most popular composition is zergling, baneling, hydralisk which is used in ZvT and ZvP.

Due to the hydralisks high DPS and long range, they are good to keep 4-5 in your main base to kill off drops or warp-ins. The most effective way to do this is to select your hatcheries and then your larvae, make 4-5 hydralisks select them and rally them
to your main base. If you have a spare hotkey it is good to give them their own hotkey. Additionally putting this group of hydralisks on patrol can give you wider coverage of popular drop areas.

Weaknesses

While Hydralisks have a high DPS, they do not have a lot of health and have no base armor which makes them squishy units that can be killed off quickly, especially by high damage compositions like marine medivac and mass oracle. This makes pure hydralisk compositions generally weak to unit compositions with high health and higher attack rates. For example, mass roach styles will defeat mass hydralisk styles due to being cheaper and having much more health.

Hydralisks are generally weak to units including:

Chargelots
Collossus
High Templar Storm
Mass Marine //If the hydras are by themselves
Siege tanks //Due to being out ranged, but if the hydras can get up close they will win
Roach ravager or roach hydra armies
ultralisks
Banelings

Additional Analysis

Since hydralisks need a unit to buffer and tank damage and zerglings are easy to mass and relatively cheap you can put constant pressure
on opponents by building up to a high hydralisk count and the massing zerglings and attacking. Then once the zergling count begins to get
low back off with the hydralisks so that you can regroup another wave of zerglings. This is cost efficient most of the time as long as you
don’t lose too many hydralisks when attacking and get a decent surface area to attack (allowing more hydralisks to deal damage at the same time).

When doing this, try to focus down expensive priority targets such as siege tanks and archons with parts of your hydralisk army. The zerglings aren’t
valuable so losing most of them or all of them is a worthwhile trade if you can take out important tech units and get away with most of your
hydralisks. Good times to do these types of attacks are when you opponent is expanding to their fourth base and after you have held an enemies push.

The zergling hydralisk all-in ZvP build on this website is an effective way of abusing this strategy. It allows you to apply a ton of pressure
with an alright economy.I consider it an ‘all-in’ build because if you were to not attack after doing the build, the Protoss economy would far surpace
yours and you would eventually die. However if you can apply pressure in this way by backing off once the zerglings are dead while getting either probe
kills, killing off lots of important tech units (archons, immortals) forcing the protoss to by on primarily gateway units, or killing off structures (a nexus,
warpgates, an artosis pylon (a pylon powering many production structures), or killing a large Protoss army because they were going for a timing attack you can
snowball the game by continuing to apply pressure and keeping hydralisks alive.

This can also be done with zergling, baneling, hydralisk compositions, however they work differently since banelings are more expensive but also contribute to
your overall dps a lot more.

Art Credits to Phill Gonzo, Deviant Art

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