Starcraft 2 Zerg Guide - HotS Updated
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In this Starcraft 2 Zerg guide, you will discover literally
everything you need to know to play Zerg at a high level. This guide covers Zerg units and structures build
orders, recommended army compositions, strategies for every race match up, and even a section on tips that are
good to know but do not fit into any specific sub headline of the guide.
The table of contents below provides you with a quick way to access all parts of the Zerg guide. Clicking on one
of the sections below will take you to a full guide to that particular aspect of the Zerg race.
As an example, clicking on the "Zerg Structures" link below will take you to an overview of Zerg structures and
the particulars of how Zerg construction works. On the same page, you will also find a full list of Zerg
structures, an outline of the Zerg tech tree, costs, build times, and more.
Zerg Guide Table of Contents
Zerg Army Compositions
Zerg Build Orders
Zerg Structures Guide
Full Guide: Starcraft 2 Zerg Structures
All Zerg structures in Starcraft 2 must be built on creep. Creep is generated primarily through
the Hatchery (or Lair or Hive) as well as creep tumors. New creep tumors can be planted by Queens, and
existing creep tumors can create a single new tumor. Creep spreads over time from the Hatchery or Creep Tumor until
a certain radius of creep has been achieved. More details on creep and creep spread can be found in the full Zerg
The Zerg race is unique in that building a structure requires the sacrifice of the Drone constructing it. Rather
than building, the structure is "morphed" from the Drone itself. Cancelling a Zerg building under construction will
return the Drone to the Zerg player. Zerg players can start constructing a number of buildings, train units up to
the supply cap, then cancel the construction to get the Drones back, allowing the Zerg to go beyond their current
supply cap (even beyond 200/200).
Zerg players have no true production facility. Instead, the Hatchery (or Lair or Hive) constantly produces Larva
which can be morphed into units. The Larva are able to morph into new units as tech structures are added and
evolved. This allows the Zerg player to switch very easily between a large number of unit types without adding
on more than the single tech structure required. In light of this, Zerg tech structures tend to be very
expensive even in spite of losing the Drone.
Zerg Units Guide
Full Guide: Starcraft 2 Zerg Units
Zerg units tend to be relatively cost inefficient compared to the other races, but make up for it by being
easier to make, especially after losing an entire army. A fully maxed out Zerg player could lose their entire army
only to max out again in under a minute (should they have the resources). Zerg players try to make up for the
race's low resource efficiency by taking many expansions. This allows the Zerg player to leverage the Zerg's
strength of rapid unit production.
Zerg units are both morphed from Larva as well as existing units. Most Zerg units are morphed from Larva. Larva
spawn consistently from the Hatchery (up to 3 total) but can also be produced via the Queen's Inject Larva ability.
This ability causes the Hatchery to spew out 4 Larva at the end of a 40 second duration. Regularly injecting your
Hatcheries is very important for Zerg players. Not injecting often enough can cost the Zerg player the game.
Zerg ground units move faster on creep. This bonus is unit-specific, but even the units that benefit the least
from this bonus gain a substantial speed increase while on creep. Zerg units move faster on both friendly and enemy
creep, so this can work against the Zerg in ZvZ.
Zerg Army Compositions
Full Guide: Zerg Army Compositions
In Starcraft 2, massing up a single unit is not typically as effective as incorporating several (or more)
different unit types into a single army. The mix of units that makes up an army is known as the army
composition. While diverse armies are ideal for most game situations, it is sometimes viable for the
Zerg player to mass up a single unit type. Zerg players even at the professional level have won many games by
massing Roaches in the early game or slowly building up to 20+ Mutalisks in a longer game.
Despite their propensity to mass single unit types, Zerg players have the least defined army compositions
of any race. The reason is that Zerg are far more reactive than any enemy race due to the way Larva works. If you
lose a lot of units as a Zerg player, you can completely change your army composition on the reinforcement wave if
you have enough Larva banked up. While a Terran player might stick to a "mech" composition throughout an entire
game, a Zerg player can cycle through several compositions in the course of just 5 minutes in a game.
One example of a popular unit composition is Roach/Hydralisk. Roaches are cheap and have a lot of health,
whereas Hydralisks can hit air units, have a long range, high DPS, and are very fragile. This army composition
works well because the Roaches can tank damage for the Hydralisks while the Hydralisks safely sit out in the back
and deal massive DPS.
Full Guide: Starcraft 2 Zerg Strategy
As mentioned earlier in this Zerg guide, the Zerg race tends to be less resource efficient than other races. For
example, the Baneling can be used to quickly destroy enemy light ground units, but doing so requires a large amount
of resources. Just 20 supplies worth of Banelings will run the Zerg player 2000 minerals and 1000 vespene gas. Even
when the Zerg wins an engagement, they often come out behind on the "resources lost" tab.
As a result, Zerg players are often considered to be losing a game if they have the same number of bases as
their opponent. For example, imagine a Zerg versus Protoss game where the army sizes and tech were about equal. If
the Zerg and the Protoss player both had 3 total bases, top players would consider the Zerg to be currently behind
in the game and more likely to lose. Zerg players in this situation would be desparate to either get a fourth
expansion or to make a major attack on the Protoss player.
Zerg mechanics need to be tight in order to have success with this race. Namely, players need to hit their
Inject Larvas every 40 seconds and need to be diligent about spreading the creep all game long. Inject Larva is
needed to quickly macro up and build Drones, while creep spread helps the Zerg's units move faster, provides
vision, and helps the Zerg defend its generally large territory.
Zerg Build Orders
Full Guide: Zerg Build Orders
Of all the races, Zerg players have the least variety as well as the most flexible build orders. Zerg
players can macro up much faster than any other race thanks to Inject Larva and the low cost of Hatchery. As a
result, it is often in the Zerg's best interest not to pursue an early attack and instead try to expand multiple
times early in the game. Zerg players try to avoid building units and only do so when the enemy looks like they are
going to make an attack.
If the Zerg player is undisturbed, the best bet for the Zerg is to take a very fast third base, work on tech and
upgrades, grab a fourth base, and then make whatever unit type is going to work well against. No other race can max
out as quickly as the Zerg can, so it only makes sense for the Zerg to take this approach.
There are however times when Zerg players can execute specific build orders with great results. For example,
against a Terran player that opts for an early third Command Center, Zerg players can use the Baneling Bust build order.
Full Guide: Zerg Tips
There are a lot of other important tricks, strategies, and mechanics specific to the Zerg race that you should
know about, but do not really fit anywhere else in the guide. We have compiled these into the Zerg tips section
Check out all the sections of our Starcraft 2 Zerg guide for best results. We will be adding more strategies,
build orders, and tips over time, so be sure to check back regularly for new guides!