The Shokz Guide, Starcraft 2 Guide

Zerg vs Zerg Rushing Guide

If you’ve played or watched any ZvZ, you likely know that it’s a fast-paced, explosive matchup – the majority of games end quite early with one or two base play. I’m sure most of us have been involved in those infamous (arguably annoying) Ling/Baneling wars, and experienced the excruciating pain after looking away from your army for a split second, only to return to see all your units have died to 1 baneling.

As a result of these silly ling-baneling battles, and the overall dynamic of the matchup, ZvZ just feels flimsy for a lot of players – many describe it as a coinflip or rock/paper/scissors. So many people just do the one base baneling all-ins, early pool rushes, or the Destiny style Roach/Ling all-in. Obviously these styles can win you games, but it’s very one-dimensional and not likely to help you improve. It will please you to know that this guide will focus on a banelingless style of ZvZ, using well-planned timing attacks to secure map control while you drone and prepare another timing attack. Even if you’re a macro player, the most important concept to take away from this guide is droning with map control as opposed to droning blindly.

You can do this by utilizing 3 highly-optimized timing attacks:

5:45 - 22 Speedlings arrive at opponent’s expansion
6:00 – 42 Speedlings
9:00 – 8Roach/60+ Timing Attack

You’ve all probably guessed why I love this matchup: it’s my mindset that You cannot be too aggressive in ZvZ. I’ve never heard a player say “I need to play more passive in ZvZ, I think I’d win more.” No, I want you to be as relentless as possible and if you start losing the occasional game by attacking too much, you should pat yourself on the back and say “That was good, but next time I’ll attack more.” Aggression thrives in ZvZ and choosing the right build order and unit composition is an essential first step. In this guide I’ll provide the build order, timings, and execution I’ve used to turn a matchup many consider to be a “flimsy, rock-paper-scissors, coinflip” into a near-lock.

And even if you don’t fancy yourself a particularly aggressive player, you’ll see that taking the initiative and attacking first can often present you with opportunities to drone and secure advantages.

Opening Build Order

This build is a very refined way to optimize zergling count by the 6 minute mark. If you do the build perfectly, you should have 22 Zerglings with speed moving out when speed is done (5:30). This is a crucial window to do damage to your opponent’s queens, morphing banelings, vulnerable roaches. The more damage you do, the more likely your follow-up 42 Zerglings at 6:00 will end the game. Often, this massive ling count will be enough to do crippling damage if you think that you’ve done crippling damage you can continue streaming lings after 42 supply.

15Gas (Rally 14th Drone)
17Expansion Hatch
@100Gas speed, remove from geyser.
18-21 Zerglings (Queen + 6Lings)
21 Queen (First queen pops, inject and move to expo)
23 Overlord (Optional Spine Crawler)
23-31 Zerglings (First inject goes into all lings, try to hide these from opponent’s scouting lings. If you want to macro, you could cut lings here and start droning)
31 Overlord
31-42 Zerglings (Rallied to opponent’s expansion)
42+ Drones/Transition OR Commit to a Zergling All-In

Opening Execution

Your initial overlord MUST scout your opponent’s expansion by the 4min mark. If he’s expanded, you’re absolutely going to put on oodles of pressure. I will go over responses to 1-base play in stream episode 4.

Your first queen and 6 lings will hold any 2base 14/14 pressure.

As soon as your speed finishes (~5:30), it’s time to move out. You want to take those initial 22 Lings to your opponent’s expansion right away. Banelings and roaches are possible at this stage, but in small numbers.

Use 1 ling to pick off individual banelings if you can, 2-3 lings to focus fire morphing banelings. Don’t think that because you see zergling, baneling, or roach defense you have to retreat - remember you have a second wave for a total of 42 Lings on the way so don’t be afraid to try to surround roaches, pick off banelings, engage in ling on ling battles, and kill queens. Any damage you can do is great. A LOT of games can be won with this first push, and if you feel like you’re going to win, just stream lings until you do.

The most important thing while you’re attacking is to keep up with queen injects, overlords, and either zergling or drone production. Even though you’re microing actively with your lings, you should keep your keyboard hand busy as well – the more multitasking the better.

Roach/Ling Transition

At 42 supply, you should have an idea if your lings will be enough to win. If he’s spined up and using baneling/queen/ling defense, for example, you’ll respond by transitioning into roaches:

A food supply build order becomes irrelevant here, as it depends on how many lings you lose. As a general rule, follow these if you feel like your lings give you map control:

1) Produce 4-8 Drones
2) Refill Gas, Start a warren (Rule of thumb: 6:30-7:00)
3) Produce 2-6 Drones and overlords while warren builds (only build drones if you feel safe, otherwise make lings)
4) Make 6-8 Roaches right when warren finishes, rally point onto roaches and move out, producing zerglings to reinforce.

Keep in mind that you could just build the 6-8 roaches and play defensively to drone up, get an evo chamber, and move into standard mid-game with infestor/roach or mutt.

Roach/Ling Execution

I recommend hotkeying the roaches as 2, with lings following the roaches / hatcheries rallied onto the roaches.

If you have the lings following the roaches, you don’t have to do excessive ling micro – they’ll for the most part engage correctly.

However, it is important to hotkey the lings as 1 so that you can pull them back quickly if you see banelings.

If there’s no banelings, A-move and do a bit of focus-firing with roaches onto any spines but don’t overdo it.

If there are banelings, let the roaches absorb the banelings then a-move with lings when it’s safe.

What if I don’t win with Roach/Ling?

This is where individual play-style may vary. You could theoretically continue to stream roaches / lings with all your resources until you win or lose. However, I think it’s important to have a point where you stop reinforcing with lings and start producing drones (remember you’re not that far from full 2base mineral saturation).

Here is an example of a “desperation mode” transition with a reasonable chance of success:

Step 1: Cut zerglings and go for 38 drones (full 2base mineral saturation, 6 drones mining gas in one geyser)

Step 2: Start a macro hatch (Optional evo chamber for +1)

Step 3: Start a 3rd queen

Step 4: Use all your gas on roaches, and use 3queens 3hatch to mass Zerglings rallied to the roaches.

Step 5: Rally hatcheries onto roaches and go for a huge timing attack off 3 hatch.

Step 6: (Optional) Start a lair and a 4th base while you push.

Holding Early Cheese/Pressure

1) If he goes for a 1-Base Ling/Bane All-In (14/14 or so):

Example game:
Step 1: Scout the expansion by the 4Min Mark.(Ling scout later to see unit composition seeing no expo by 4:00 and lings streaming across the map is a good indication).

Step 2: Build 1-2 spine crawlers in your main after your overlord on 23 Supply. (If you get two, you can leave one in your main and move one down to expansion)

Step 3: Produce nothing but speedlings. (You can actually engage in ling on ling battles, but you’ll probably use these to counter attack when he tries to bust)

Step 4: Produce a 3rd queen at your expansion. (Queens and spines are your key defenses for your expo)

Step 5: Transfer 1 Spine down to your expansion, bring your main queen down there too. Optional: Wall ramp with 2 queens with spine in range. (Since you build a 3rd queen and a spine, you don’t need to be injecting your main constantly – you wont have minerals to use that much larva, so all 3 queens can be at your expansion)

Step 6: (Optional/Situational) Counter-attack with your speedlings, use your queens/reinforcing lings/spines to defend the pressure.

2) If he goes for a roach or roach/ling 1-Base All-In:

Step 1: Scout the expansion by the 4 Min Mark. (Ling scout later to see unit composition).

Step 2: Laugh internally, because you’ve already won. You should have a big grin on your face when you see 1 base roaches.

Step 3: Build 1 Spine Crawler in your main at 23, similar to the 1-base baneling style.

Step 4: Produce nothing but speedlings.

Step 5: Transfer the spine down to your expansion.

Step 6: Use your enormous speedling count and a-move into his army when he’s near your spine.

Step 7: Execute your usual ling timing attack.

3) If he hits you with an early-pool:

Step 1: Scout the lings coming to your base with overlords.

Step 2: Start a spine, queen, and 2 sets of lings right away.

Step 3: PULL AWAY your drones. Don’t panic and a-move, just patiently wait for some zerglings to pop.

Step 4: Engage with 4 zerglings and 14-16 Drones.

Step 5: Reposition your spine, continue producing lings with any minerals, and use all you have to kill his units and spine.

Step 6: Get that 16 drone saturation, 2 queens, and an expansion. Move into the usual ling timing attack.

Source: Teamliquid

  • Pseudonym

    I have been frustrated with ZvZ for sooo long! This is probably the most valuable piece on this site (to me). I can’t wait to apply some of these strategies to my biggest weakness- ZVZ!

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