Pool First ZvT Opening

Pool First builds in ZvT are alternate openings to hatch first builds, they can be done as an opening alternate to hatch first and can be followed up by any build.

Pool first macro builds in ZvT have a few main benefits. First they allow the zerg to get 2-6 zerglings out before they can get caught by the Terran reaper and can be used to delay a low ground Terran CC by attacking the SCV. Additionally these lings can be used to get some scouting information by checking the structures at the top of the Terran ramp. The first zerglings also often causes the reaper to come/stay home which restricts the Terran’s scouting. Pool first also allows the zerg player to get faster zergling speed (if they go gas/pool/hatch), which makes taking a third base easier. Finally due to the faster pool, you can get zerglings out faster to defend proxy barracks strategies.

While there are some benefits to pool first, there are also some negative factors. The creep spread at your natural as well as your second queen will be later, which delays creep spread. Additionally, the natural hatchery is later which means it takes longer before you can mine from the natural. This is mainly a factor since you can’t transfer drones to minerals once you have enough gas for zergling speed.

Gas – Pool – Hatch

Rogue’s Opening

The first example comes from Rogue in the GSL on catalyst. In this game, Rogue uses the fast gas to also get a fast overlord speed and follows up the pool first opening with a +1/+1 roach ravager timing attack.


GSL Season 3 Round of 32 Group H KeeN vs Rogue Catalyst

13 – Overlord
17 – Gas
17 – Pool
18 – Hatch
18 – 2x Zerglings | Send These lings across the map to stop their SCV from building the CC on a different path than the standard reaper path
19 – Queen
21 / @100 Gas – Metabolic Boost
21 – Overlord
24 / @100% Queen – Second Queen | Send your first Queen to the Natural
27 / @100% Natural – Third Queen

At this point, you can continue any build order.

Pool – Hatch – Gas

Reynor’s Opening

The second example comes from Reynor in the GSL in his match against Ryung on Catalyst. In this game, Ryung SCV scouts which stops Reynor from being able to delay the natural CC however Reynor is able to transition to a standard Ling Bane Hydra game and win from there.


GSL Season 3 Round of 32 Group A Ryung vs Reynor Catalyst

13 – Overlord
17 – Spawning Pool
17 – Hatchery
18 – Extractor | Rally from Egg
17 / @100% Spawning Pool – 4x Zerglings | Send across the map to delay the CC
19 – Queen
21 – Overlord
24 / @100% Queen – Second Queen
28 / @100% Natural – Third Queen
@100 Gas – Metabolic Boost

From here, you can continue any build order.

Pool – Gas – Hatch

Leenock’s Opening

The third example comes from leenock in the GSL against maru on dreamcatcher.

 
GSL Season 3  Round of 32 Group B Leenock vs Maru Dreamcatcher

13 – Overlord
17 – Spawning Pool
17 – Extractor
16 – Hatchery
18 / @100% Spawning Pool – 2x Zerglings | Send across the map to delay the CC
19 – Queen
21 – Overlord

23 / @100% Queen – Second Queen
23 / @100 Gas – Metabolic Boost
28 / @100% Natural – Third Queen

From here, you can continue any build order.

Defending Proxy Barracks

Impact’s Defense

The final example I will post is of Impact defending a proxy barracks strategy with a pool first build. He chooses to go gasless and defend using a spine crawler, queens and slow zerglings.


GSL Season 3 Round of 32 Group E Impact vs ByuN Lost and Found

13 – Overlord
17 – Spawning Pool
18 – Hatchery

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