Starcraft 2 Roach Rush

The Roach is one of the most powerful units in an early game of Starcraft 2 due to its high HP total, natural armor of 1, low cost, and high damage output. As a result, Zerg players commonly go for a Starcraft 2 Roach rush in order to take down opponents for an easy win.

In this article, I will discuss the best build order and situational use for the Roach Rush.

Build Order

My preferred build order for a Starcraft 2 Roach rush depends on the map. On big maps, your Roaches will have longer to travel in order to get to the enemy's base. As a result, you will need more Roaches. On shorter maps you can get away with a faster push in order to get your Roaches out faster.

Small Map Build Order (just 2 starting locations and close base proximity):

10/10: Spawning Pool
10/10: Overlord
11/18: Queen
11/18: Extractor
14/18: Roach Warren

..and progress into building Roaches. You can start your rush with just 11 Drones harvesting minerals and 3 on gas. Slowly max out your mineral count prior to getting the second extractor, as Roaches do not require much gas to produce.

Large Map Build Order (more than 2 starting locations or long distance between bases):

14/18: Spawning Pool (all Drones)
13/18: Extractor (you lose a Drone in making the Spawning Pool)
14/18: Queen
16/18: Extractor
15/18: Roach Warren
17/18: Overlord
20/26: Start mass-producing Roaches; add the extra extractor as needed.

You can generally get away with just 6-8 Roaches on small maps, but you will need a dozen Roaches on large maps.

On large maps, the Starcraft 2 Roach rush does not really work very well. A 20+ supply attack is not technically referred to as a rush, but rather as a "timed push". The timed Roach push works best on large maps.

Appropriate Races

The Starcraft 2 Roach rush does not work equally well on every race. I find that the 6 Roach rush on small maps is an excellent strategy in Zerg vs Zerg match-ups. It counters the Zerg fast expand strategy completely.

Roaches are very strong versus Zerglings, good versus Queens, and great versus Drones. For this reason, even a couple early Roaches to an enemy's base is enough to frequently take him out. Great skill and microing do not matter when facing very early Roaches in a Zerg vs Zerg match-up.

When playing against Protoss players, the Starcraft 2 Roach rush fares decently. It really depends on what league you are playing in. In the Diamond league, this strategy is not terribly effective because Protoss players will wall off their base with a Pylon, Gateway, and Cybernetics Core combo. They will then add a few Stalkers and Sentries and use Force Field to block the entrance to the ramp.

As a result, it can be pretty tough for Roaches to break into Protoss bases. However, in the lower-ranked leagues, many players do not understand how to use the Sentry's Force Field and instead opt for Zealots. Roaches are great versus Zealots, so a timed Roach push works great against Protoss in 1v1 match-ups.

When you go for a Starcraft 2 Roach rush versus Terran, know that a single Marauder behind a Supply Depot wall can easily handle 3 Roaches. It is not even worth trying.

When a Terran player sees you are going Roaches, he can easily head straight for Banshees. Two Banshees will easily wipe out two Queens and proceed to take down a Zerg player with ease.

Personally, I almost never get Roaches versus Terran players. If the Terran player is relying heavily on Hellions, I might grab a few. Roaches are great versus Hellions on defense, but Roaches just will never make it through the Terran wall.

In a Zerg vs Terran match-up, I will try to tech up and fast expand. Roaches do not work well on offense against Terran players because the Roach is very weak versus Marauders and Siege Tanks. Terran players should have a lot of both units!


The Starcraft 2 Roach rush is an effective strategy in Zerg vs Zerg match-ups and versus bad Protoss players. However, avoid this technique in Zerg vs Terran play. Be sure to use the fast build when playing at a small map and the economical build when playing at a large map.