Standard ZvT Guide

Build Order

Opening
Reaction vs 2-1-1
Reaction vs 1-1-1
Mid Game vs Bio
Late Game vs Bio
End Game vs Bio
Mid/Late Game vs Mech
End Game vs Mech

Key to ZvT: Engagements and Vision aka Creep Spread
Scouting + General Notes
Notes vs Bio
Notes vs Mech

Intro

This is a complete ZvT guide including how to play ling bane hydra or ling bane muta vs bio as well as roach ravager swarmhost, roach hydra viper, or ling bane hydra swarm host vs mech. It includes responses to 2-1-1 as well as 1-1-1 Terran openings. With all this being said, it focuses primarily on the highest levels of play. What this means is it includes the strategies which are used at the highest levels of play, but may not cover strategies that you see on ladder. In addition to this, the timings for defending attacks are based off of the highest levels of play, while at lower levels the timings will generally happen later. Keep these things in mind when reading through the guide, and if you are at a lower level of play, focus on the order that things are built and the benchmarks that the build aims to hit, rather than the specific times that things are happening.

Build Order

Opening

This opening build sets you up in a solid defensive position with a strong economy if your opponent is playing standard. If the Terran is doing anything on 1 base, such as proxy barracks or 3 barracks reaper, you will need to deviate from this opening. 

13 – Overlord
16 – Hatchery (pull a drone from your mineral line @ ~200 minerals)
18 – Gas (rally 17th drone from egg)
17 – Spawning Pool (rally 18th drone from egg)
Saturate Gas through rallying the next 3 drones
20 – Overlord
20 – 2x Queens 4x Lings
@60 Gas – Pull 2 drones off of gas
28 – Third Hatchery
29 – Third Queen (main base) | Send your 4 lings to where the reaper can jump into your main and your first two queens to your natural
31 – Metabolic Boost (Zergling Speed)
31 – Overlord
@100% first inject (~3:05) – Make 2 drones from your main and rally into gas
40 – Overlord
42 – Fourth Queen (@Natural Base)
@3:30 Send overlord into their main to scout
44 – Fifth Queen (@Main Base) | Use this queen to place a tumor in your main base
46 – Overlord
@3rd Hatchery – 6th Queen

Reaction VS 2-1-1

2-1-1 indicates the 2 barracks, 1 factory, 1 starport 16 stim marine drop @ 5 minutes.
To Scout: there are many ways to scout the 2-1-1. Generally, just seeing reactor barracks heavily indicates 2-1-1. 2-1-1 will have a high number of marines in the early game which you will see with overlords. If you see 2 barracks early, 1 with reactor and 1 with tech lab or the factory making a reactor for the starport to swap onto you are playing against some style of 2-1-1. There are more indicators that can tell you that it is some style of 2-1-1, however I would consider those listed above as the most common.

@3:40 – Evolution Chamber
@100% Evolution Chamber (4:05) – +1 Carapace
@4:15 – 1x Extractor
Benchmark: Around this time you should be able to reach 50 drones (some will be in production)
@64 – (6 queens 4 lings 50 drones) – 30 Zerglings + 2 Queens (main, natural use these queens for injecting)
@~4:40 – If anything goes wrong in the early game (supply block lost overlord etc) this is when you want to start making the zerglings to defend the pressure. Otherwise, hit the 50 drone target first.
@30 Zerglings – Once you have started producing all the lings you need you can go back to drones
@5:00 – Lair + Baneling Nest
@~5:00 defend the 16 stim marine drop with 6 queens + 30-34 Zerglings
After defending start 9th and 10th Queens (you will now have 7 defending Queens and 3 injecting Queens make sure that after you have defending you set one queen for injecting the third as the 7th and 8th queens you make inject your main and natural)
@5:30 – Second Evolution Chamber + 2 Extractors

VS +1/+1 ~24 Marine follow-up

To Scout: The main difference between the tank follow up and the non tank followups is the third base will be much faster ~5:00-5:10 rather than a later third base ~6:30 or later. Terrans will generally wall off with supply depots + 2 engineering bays, so to scout the third CC you will need to use a mix of overlords/overseer and zerglings.

As you have the gas – Baneling Speed, +2 Carapace, +1 Melee
@6:00 – 4th Base + Macro Hatchery + 5th Extractor (+6th Extractor if going spire)
Benchmark: ~6:15 66 Drones 10 Queens +1 Carapace finished
Constant Zergling and Baneling production until  successfully defending his follow up. 8-10 banelings should be good.
@6:30 – Hydralisk Den or Spire
@~6:30 – Defend the +1/+1 marine follow up

VS Siege Tank follow-up

To Scout: to scout the siege tank follow up a few things can be seen, the starport will swap off the reactor for a barracks after the first two medivacs, so seeing a reactorless starport is a good indication. Additionally seeing no third base is also a good indication as the third base won’t be placed until 6:30 or later. The factory will make a tech lab relatively quickly (generally after they start their upgrades) so this is also a good indicator however they will also want a tech lab factory eventually with other 2-1-1 followups. Lastly, Terrans will put the 2 tanks in a medivac and boost it across the map for the timing, so you can’t often see the tanks leave to scout the push.

As you have the gas – Baneling Speed, +2 Carapace, +1 Melee
@6:00 – 4th Base + Macro Hatchery + 5th Extractor (+6th Extractor if going spire)
Stop droning @60-63 drones and constant ling bane production to hold the siege tank push.
Benchmark: ~6:15 60-63 Drones 10 Queens +1 Carapace finished
Constant Zergling and Baneling production until successfully defending the tank push.
@6:30 – Hydralisk Den or Spire
@~6:30 – Defend the marine tank push 

VS Hellbat Marine 2-1-1

The Hellbat Marine 2-1-1 variant is tough to scout and can be hard to hold if you believe it to be a different 2-1-1 variation. Generally speaking, seeing an early armory or a reactor factory that doesn’t have the starport swap onto the reactor. The attack will arrive at least 30 seconds later than normal 2-1-1 variations. As soon as you scout that it is the hellbat variant you should drop a baneling nest to defend. If you do not scout it in time to have banelings for the attack, just constant zergling production, start extra queens and pull all of your queens. You can defend with just queen ling and good micro.

Reaction VS 1-1-1 

To Scout: One thing to keep an eye on is whether or not it is a fast 3 CC 1-1-1 or a regular 1-1-1. With the fast 3 CC builds, the Terran will get their third command center before their starport, while with normal 1-1-1 builds the starport comes before the third command center. The main difference you want to make in your build is go lower on the queen count against fast 3 CC to get out a higher drone count and keep up with the Terran better.
To Scout Mech/Bio: @~4:40 Send 2 lings or an overlord to scout around 5 minutes (focus on if they are producing marines or continuing to produce hellions more than 6 hellions usually indicates mech, more than 8 hellions pretty much guarantees mech).

VS Bio 1-1-1

Note: If you want to play Ling Bane Hydra Swarmhost against mech, follow this VS Bio 1-1-1 mid-game.

@35 Drones – Go up to 12-16 Zerglings to defend hellions
@100% Queens – 3x Queens (if not fast 3cc)
@4:30 – 2x Evolution Chamber
@4:30 VS Banshee 1 Spore in each base (tech lab starport + researching tech lab)
@4:30 VS Liberator 1 Spore in strong liberator positions (map dependent)
@100% Evolution Chambers – +1 Melee and +1 Carapace
@5:00 – Fourth Base + 2x Extractors
@100 Gas – Lair
@50 Gas after lair – Baneling Nest + 2 Extractors (+6th Extractor if going spire)
@100% Lair – Baneling Speed
@300 Minerals – Macro Hatchery
Benchmark: 6:00 66 drones, fourth base, lair, bane nest and +1/+1 on the way or completed

@6:30 Hydralisk Den or Spire
@6:50 / @100% +1 / +1 – +2 Melee and +2 Carapace

Note: At this point it is common for Terran to make a 2-2 bio push supported by siege tanks or widow mines. Be on alert for this push and make ling bane hydra or ling bane muta off of a 66-70 drone economy. However, ensure that you scout as not all Terrans will make this push depending on the state of the game. If the Terran is not pushing out soon, you should go up to ~80 drones quickly. The Terran will want to have at least some map presence to deny creep, such as 16 stim marines and 2 medivacs, so it is a good idea to make at least some army (~30 lings and some hydras or mutas) off of 66-70 drones before going to 80.

VS Mech 1-1-1

Note: Follow this is playing roach swarmhost or roach hydra viper.

@35 Drones – Go up to 12-16 Zerglings to defend hellions
@100% Queens – 3x Queens (if not fast 3cc)
@4:30 – 2x Evolution Chamber
@4:30 VS Banshee 1 Spore in each base (tech lab starport + researching tech lab)
@4:30 VS Liberator 1 Spore in strong liberator positions (map dependent)
@100% Evolution Chambers – +1 Range +1 Carapace
@5:00 – Fourth Base + 2x Extractors + Roach Warren
@100 Gas – Lair + 3x Extractors
@100% Lair – Glial Reconstitution (Roach Speed)
Benchmark: 6:00 66 drones, fourth base, lair, Roach Warren and +1/+1 all on the way or completed

At this point scout and build roach ravager as a reaction to defend. Generally around 15 roaches is enough to defend just hellions along with your queens, but if they are building cyclones or siege tanks more roach ravager may be required. Additionally these roaches are needed along with the queens to defend double thor drops which is a common mech strategy past the initial hellion or hellbat pressure. After defending these attacks, you can drone to 80 safely.

Mid Game VS Bio

Checkpoint: Successfully defended the Terran opening + follow-up, 60-70+ drones depending on the type of follow-up, baneling speed close to finishing or finished, 4 bases and a macro hatchery, and a tier 2 tech started (hydralisk den or spire), +1 melee and +2 carapace close to finishing if post 2-1-1 or +2 melee +2 carapace started if defending 1-1-1.

This checkpoint can take varying amounts of time to complete based on how aggressive the Terran is pushing in and how easily you are able to shut it down. There are 4 possible tech paths that you can go down in ZvT.

Hydralisk

Generally 5 gases supports a solid ling bane hydra army, which means you do not need to take additional gases until you want to start teching. You can take gases slightly earlier or later depending on the game, your economy and how many banelings you have needed to make throughout the game.

@100% Hydralisk Den / ~7:00 – Muscular Augments (Hydralisk Speed)
@100% Muscular Augments / ~8:10 – Grooved Spines (Hydralisk Range)

You want to make ~20 Hydras maximum if going the ling bane hydra ultra path. This is primarily due to ultralisks getting stuck on hydras, but also once you get past 20 hydras it is hard to get concaves large enough for them all to be attacking. When engaging with ling bane hydra you want to engage, and back up with your hydras once your ling bane is killed (if it is killed).

Mutalisk

Mutalisk are more gas intensive than hydralisk which means you need to take your gases faster. If you are going mutalisk, you should already have 6 gases.

@100% 4th Hatchery + ~70+ drones – 2x Extractors (total 8 gases)
@100% Spire – +1 Air Attacks
@100% Spire – ~14 Mutalisk | enough Mutalisk for harass, map control and to shut down drops

Late Game vs Bio

Checkpoint: You can start this late game vs bio section as soon as it is safe to drone up to 80. Generally you will have started producing your mid game tech units and are safe to drone to 80 once you have defended whatever type of pressure the Terran is choosing to apply (or right away if they are playing super defensive which is rare with bio). Generally this is whatever followup after 2-1-1 they do or defending a bio (+tank/mine) push after the opening hellion pressure if they opened with 1-1-1.

Add the ultralisk or broodlord build to the below for late game vs bio depending on which late game tech you want to play.

Drone to ~80 + take a 5th base
@+1/+2|+2/+2 – +2 melee (if 2-1-1) and +1 Range if you are playing Hydralisk into Broodlord
@8:00-8:30 – Infestation Pit + 1 Extractor (if hydralisk)| As you have the gas for it (depends on the game, could be later than 8:30)
@100% Infestation Pit – Hive + 2 Extractors (if hydralisk 8 total now)
@100% Hive – ~3-4 Vipers if they are Bio Tank
@300 Gas – +3 Carapace
@200 Gas – Adrenal Glands
@200 Gas – +3 Melee

Ultralisk

Ultralisk are the most common initial tier 3 tech in ZvBio. Your Ultralisk cavern should be fairly soon after hive finishes. The cavern timing is mostly dependent on how fast you need vipers and how much gas you have available.

@100% Hive – Ultralisk Cavern
@100% Ultralisk Cavern – Chitinous Plating + Ultra Production Right away

Ultralisk are powerful late game units, so make sure you prioritize making 3+ Ultras once you have the tech available.

Broodlord Timing

Faster Broodlord builds can be very strong especially against Terrans which invest more heavily into siege tanks. Building more than 20 hydralisks can be good when going broodlords since there is nothing on the ground for your hydralisks to get stuck on (or to get stuck on your hydralisks). Additionally extra queen production is good as transfuse is a crucial ability when broodlords are a main part of your army.

@100% Infestation Pit – Spire right after starting hive | If you don’t already have a spire from going Mutalisk
@100% Spire 100% Hive – Greater Spire
Make 6-10 Corruptors to Morph into broodlords
@100% Greater Spire – +1 Flier Attack

Generally when going broodlord you want to hit a timing with them before the Terran is ready. This timing is strongest when you can push a creep pathway enough to include queens in your push. Send your corruptors closer to your opponents base and find  a safe spot to morph into broodlords. Vipers are also powerful in this push as you can abduct vikings into your hydras / queens.

End Game vs Bio

If you aren’t able to kill the Terran with your tier 3 tech (adrenal, +3/+3, ultra/brood, a few vipers) then the game will enter an endgame stage where your opponent is going up to a liberator ghost composition. If this is the case there are a few things you want to be doing:

  • Expand aggressively into your 6th+ bases. If the Terran sends a drop to kill on of your mining bases you need to have a base to send your drones while you remake the base they killed.
  • Take your 9th and 10th gases quickly and take additional gases as you saturate additional bases
  • Tech to greater spire and research pathogen glands.
  • Produce extra queens as they are a good mineral sink due to transfuse being a powerful late game ability
  • Start producing Infestors once pathogen glands is ~50% complete
  • Make a 5-6 spore line at the front of creep where your broodlords are attacking. Make sure to replace the drones that you make into spores.
  • Ideally you want to have a small ling bane hydra force to defend drops while your main ling bane queen infestor broodlord army pushes creep and your spore line forward to deny Terran mining. 1 or 2 ultras can be strong for counter attacks or to defend Terran drops.
  • Add static defense if you have money for it to help defend against ghosts/nukes.

Mid/Late Game VS Mech

There are three general mid to late game compositions vs mech, roach swarmhost, roach hydra viper and ling bane hydra swarm host. They are all viable and have strengths and weaknesses.

Roach Ravager Swarmhost

You can choose to delay +2/+2 for faster swarmhost, just +2 carapace or not delay either. Make sure that you have some roaches to defend hellion runbys / 2x thor drops before making the infestation pit. ~15 Roaches + Queens should suffice. With this strategy you will want to make some ravagers after your swarmhost (at least 3 to 1 shot tanks) with extra gas that you may have.

@6:30 – Infestation Pit
@6:50 – +2 Range
@100% Infestation Pit – 16 Swarmhost
@16 Swarmhost – +2 Carapace | Once 16 Swarmhost have been started get +2 carapace

At this point you want to use your gas to add a hydralisk den, hydralisk upgrades and start hive. One option is to add a few more swarmhost if they would be useful in applying more pressure to the Terran.

Once you have a hive you will want to start adding vipers to your composition as you have the gas as well as get +3 range and +3 carapace.

Roach Hydra Viper

@6:30 – Hydralisk Den
@6:50 / @100% +1 / +1 – +2 Range and +2 Carapace
@7:00 – Infestation Pit
@100% Hydralisk Den – Muscular Augments (Hydralisk Speed)
@100% Infestation Pit – Hive
@100% Muscular Augments – Grooved Spines (Hydralisk Range)
@100% Hive – 4-5+ Vipers
@100% +2 / +2 – +3 Range and +3 Carapace

Once you have a good viper count with your roach hydra army and +3 upgrades on the way, you can start a transition to a more end game unit composition or just continue to trade with roach hydra viper.

Ling Bane Hydra Swarmhost

Note: this composition can be strong depending on the map or when you scout mech. For example, if you already have the baneling nest and baneling speed on the way with +1 melee, this composition can be a strong choice compared to switching over to roaches. Again you can delay +2 melee and/or +2 range to get your swarm host out faster, however you should make sure you have +1 range completed or on the way before making swarm host.

@6:30 – Hydralisk Den
@6:50 – +1 Range and +2 Melee | Prioritize Range and Melee upgrades
@7:00 – Infestation Pit
@100% Hydralisk Den – Muscular Augments (Hydralisk Speed)
@100% +1 Range – +2 Range
@100% Infestation Pit – 16 Swarmhost
@100% Muscular Augments – Grooved Spines (Hydralisk Range)

At this point you want to use your gas to start your hive. One option is to add a few more swarmhost if they would be useful in applying more pressure to the Terran. Once your hive is finished you can start upgrades and get some vipers.

End Game vs Mech

Very few ZvMech games transition to a game that require a unit composition past vipers + a ground army, however generally speaking broodlords is the next step that you will want to take. With that being said, the best transition often depends on what the Terran player is doing. For example, if they are adding ghosts to their composition or try to mass thors then infestors can be a strong option to neural the thors or fungal the ghosts.

Key to ZvT: Engagements aka Creep Spread

Often times ZvTs are decided based on how big engagements go, whether banelings get good connections, whether the blinding clouds land, whether there is a big surround or if the fight is in a choke point. There are many things that can influence these fights, such as how well the zerg players micro is, what map is being played etc. However, one of the biggest overall factors that helps zerg players engage against Terran is creep spread. Creep spread gives a speed boost to zerg units, so this allows them to surround Terran units better and get better baneling connections.

The main thing that better creep spread gives Zerg against Terran though is more vision and warning of the Terran push as well as where the pushing is going / where it is coming from. This allows you much more time to get ready for the engagement, morph banelings, split up your army etc. and it allows the Zerg player engage where they want to engage.

This is true for playing against both bio and mech. In addition, creep spread and more vision (overlords included) helps against drops / multiprong / hellion runbys etc as it gives you more time to prepare for how the Terran is attacking.

Note: I personally find that a lot of players in diamond or lower leagues, even masters or higher, will have really great creep spread but then rush into engagements. Keep in mind that you do not have to rush into engagements, if the Terran is just getting onto creep, make more army morph banelings and wait for them to unsiege and move forward into a more open area before fighting. You only HAVE to fight when they are threatening enough of your economy to end the game.

Scouting + General Notes

First Three Overlords

First

Your first overlord should go to the Terrans ramp to see their factory timing / placement as this can often be a tell of whether they are opening 2-1-1 or 1-1-1. It should then be moved to a pillar outside of the Terrans base where it is safe from marines. Try to keep your overlord on a path that never strays too far from a pillar in case the Terran goes marine first so that you can jump to the pillar before the overlord dies.

Second

Your second overlord should scout for a proxy barracks and then head towards the Terran base to scout around ~3:30. After scouting at 3:30, the overlord can back off and sit on a pillar outside the Terran main to scout for medivacs / other units leaving.

Third

Your third overlord should get vision of any reaper jump spots that go into your main base or just your main base in general so that you don’t miss hellion drops or other drops in your main base.

Gas First

The biggest indicator that a Terran has gone gas first vs barracks first when doing a 1-1-1 is gas first strategies tend to not make a marine before the reactor, while barracks first strategies will get a marine before the reactor. You can also tell by how close the factory is to finishing in relation to the reactor.

This is relevant as gas first Terran builds are more likely to have more tech units earlier on, like banshees or ravens instead of just a medivac or liberator for example. Additionally, it is more likely for them to go for a hellbat timing with gas first as the armory requires gas and you want hellions faster to hit a better timing. However, this is not always the case as barracks first builds can still be hellbats and gas first builds aren’t always hellbats.

First 3 Queens

There are two options for the first 3 queens and their placement. Option 1 is to make the third queen in the main base and send your first two queens to the front of your natural to start creep spread and inject the natural base. The second option is to make the third queen in the natural base, keep your first queen in the main and use the two queens from the natural to inject the natural and spread creep.

In general, your first two queens should inject your main base and place a creep tumor at your natural base to start creep spread. Make sure that you have 2 queens or 1 queen and 4 zerglings in front of the creep tumor before you place it so that it cannot be sniped by the enemy reaper.

Playing Against Proxy Barracks

There are many different kinds of proxy barracks strategies which have different proper responses. They are difficult to tell the differences and in general defending against them with an ideal response is very high level. So instead of going over exact high level scouting and reactions I will go over the general 2 responses you can do against proxy barracks as well as briefly go over the types of proxy barracks.

Drone Pull

If you scout the barracks early enough (before they finish), you can send 3-4 drones to try and kill the scvs building the barracks to shut it down fully and delay their attack. You can also kill the first marines as they pop out with 3-4 drones. Only do this if you scout the barracks early enough.

Drone Pull + Ling Queen Spine

Here you will want to pull 6-7 drones, stop mining gas, drop a spine crawler at your natural asap and start 2 queens. Your goal with the drone pull is to stop the bunkers from going up. To do this attack the scvs building bunkers while attacking their marines with the drones and rallying lings to help. If you can’t fully stop the bunkers from getting up you want to break the bunkers with ling queen spine before your natural dies once your queens get out. You can consider dropping a second spine crawler after you have started your first lings, your first spine and your first 2 queens.

1 Base Ravager

One option is to go up to 22 drones mining in your main, getting a roach warren and sacing your natural to break out with ravagers. Depending on what kind of proxy rax they do you will either have to all in after breaking out with 1 base ravager or double expand asap. (depends on how all in the proxy rax is). This response is generally better if you don’t scout the proxy rax at all and the bunkers get up for free.

Low Commitment Proxy Rax

There are two low commitment proxy raxes, either proxy 2 rax or the non all in proxy 3 rax. In general the ideal response against these types is the drone pull + ling spine queen because you want to keep your natural alive.

All In Proxy Rax

There is a proxy 3 rax which cuts a ton of scvs to get barracks up faster which is all in as well as proxy 4 rax which tries to kill you with just a ton of marines. Against these strategies you can get away with sacing the natural easier and often just need to survive. 1 base ravager is a fine response against these strategies (just make sure you have enough to stay alive until roaches start getting out).

Telling the Difference

The main way to tell the difference between a low commitment and all in proxy rax is the marine count and the time of the marine count. If there are only 1-2 marines with the scvs as they start to drop bunkers then it is likely a low commitment proxy rax, if there are more than 2 marines there is a good change that it is an all in proxy rax.

Notes vs Bio

Spore Crawlers and Combating Heavy Drop Play

Some Terran players will focus heavily on multi-prong and drop play rather than committing to a powerful timing attack to gain an advantage or end the game. Against these styles / players as well as in the late game when you have a strong economy it is a good idea to place a few spore crawlers ~3-4 in the best dropping locations. This is entirely map dependent, but common to be on the edge bases (your main + third) and later expansions. Make sure you have the economy to support losing these drones and make sure you that you replace the drones after making the spore crawlers.

Hydralisk / Mutalisk Count

Hydralisk and Mutalisks are both fairly squishy units and die quickly to Marines and Medivacs. However they both have a lot of utility when combined with ling bane. Essentially what this means is there are good hydralisk and mutalisk counts to aim for.

Around ~20 Hydralisks is a good number when playing Ling Bane Hydra. More Hydralisks create a problem, especially when going ultralisk as you will start to have hydralisks pile up on themselves past 20. This means the hydralisks in the back won’t be attacking or dealing damage and are a waste in fights. In addition to that, too many hydralisks makes ultralisks very clunky because the ultralisks often get stuck behind hydralisks when attacking. This is more of a problem when you have too many hydralisks.

Around ~14 Mutalisks is a good count when playing ling bane muta as its enough to pressure them and counter attack, keeping map control + shutting down drops, as well as picking off the Terran reinforcements or siege tanks.

Engaging Vs Bio Tank

When you engage a Terran player, you want to make sure your hydralisks are on attack move and control your ling bane to surround the Terran army / use some of your lings and especially your banes to chase after the bio. This makes it so the hydralisks and some lings kill their siege tanks while the banelings hunt down the marines. You can achieve this with a separate baneling hotkey, a moving your army and then control clicking a baneling to move them forward or by a moving your army and then boxing a group of lings and banelings to chase the bio.

Hellbats

Hellbat Timing attacks are difficult to deal with playing against 1-1-1. Against some hellbat timings it is ideal to get your baneling nest earlier and delay upgrades, however these are often very difficult to scout. In addition, it is best to defend most hellbat timings with just queen ling while getting upgrades so that you come out stronger after defending the timing.

To defend hellbat timings, you want to pull all of your queens to the front to defend (including your injecting queens). It is important to do your best to spread your queens out to reduce the hellbat damage and to transfuse the queens as they get low.

Map Presence when Playing Against Mech

Your map presence is important when playing against mech. You want to make sure you have map control and know whenever they move out. Many people will die against mech because the mech army gets across the map without much trouble and then is able to siege up in a strong location. Once they move out you want to attack into them and force them to siege and back up once they siege.  In addition to this, while they are crossing the map you want to get value out of your tech units, whether this is sending in locust waves against their army or abducting and killing units on the edge of their army.

If you know that you won’t be able to fight a mech army head on, you can also base trade much more effectively if you know when they move out. (Start the base trade once their army is approximately halfway across the map).

Swarm Host or Viper vs Mech

Against mech swarm host and vipers are important tech units that allow you to fight their army head on. The two options play very differently where swarmhost are often an aggressive option and vipers are the defensive option. With swarmhost, your goal is to get out swarmhost quickly and start applying pressure to the mech player. You want your army to be across the map getting damage and picking away at the mech army, launching locust waves as they refresh. Once a mech player is able to push out against swarm host and force you to use every locust wave defensively, the mech player can win by having too much. You can defend with swarm host if you have to, but when defending you want to really crush their army.

Vipers don’t give you much opportunity to really attack a mech player until they really move out. A turtling terran player can usually defend against roach hydra viper. With that being said, you can pick away at the terran with abduct and the crush their army once they move out (whether they are moving out to take a base or to attack you) with blinding cloud, abduct and parasitic bomb.

Playing against Double Reactor Factory

Double reactor factory (hellbat cyclone / battle mech) is something not seen often in the pro scene because it isn’t a strong strategy. The zerg pros figured out how to deal with double reactor factory timings a long time ago and in general they are very easy to scout. This makes them sub par strategies. With that being said, they are still on ladder. To beat double reactor factory you will need to go Ravager. Both Ling Ravager and Roach Ravager (both with queen support) can do well against hellbat cyclone. In general ling ravager requires more micro (can’t lose lings to hellbats) but can punish the Terran more as they can never escape with cyclones after losing hellbats. Corrosive bile is an extremely powerful ability against hellbat cyclone as it forces the cyclones to stop shooting and that reduces the DPS of the Terran army by a ton. Roach warren around 3:40-4:00, add a couple of gases once you have reached 2 base saturation and then you can add evos later. It depends on how early their timing hits and how all in they are (2 base all in or 3 base battle mech), but in general just get your roach warren when you scout double reactor factory and add your gases once you have a good mineral saturation.

Due to the Terran player not having a tech lab or a starport, you can counter pressure with a ravager composition after defending their attack easily while you drone up.

8 Replies to “Standard ZvT Guide”

  1. Wow this is an impressively detailed guide. My weakness has been a lack of understanding what the scouting information tells me and I can’t wait to try and apply this knowledge.

    Like

  2. Really nice guide out has so much information on it that it will take me a while to get a grasp on even just parts of it but it already helped me to win against a big first battle mech style that surely would have surprised me completely had i not read the article.

    Thx Sir!

    Looking forward to the taking all of this in 😉

    Like

  3. Really nice guide it has so much information in it that it will take me a while to get a grasp on even just parts of it but it already helped me to win against a factory first battle mech style that surely would have surprised me completely had i not read the article.

    Thx Sir!

    Looking forward to the taking all of this in 😉

    Like

  4. A very thorough and exceptionally well written guide. Is there a possibility in the future for a similar article regarding ZvP and/or ZvZ?

    Like

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