Starcraft 2 Zerg vs Zerg Strategy
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There are no rules in Zerg versus Zerg. Players at the
professional level just as easily will open for a Hatchery first build as they will a 6 Pool.
The volatility of this Starcraft 2 match-up makes it interesting to watch but often frustrating to play.
This ZvZ strategy section should help make it a little bit easier and make the game a little more stable.
ZvZ: Early Game Strategy
In the early game, Zerg vs Zerg match-ups are extremely volatile. A single misclick resulting in the lost of a
couple Zerglings or a Baneling can result in a loss. There are things you can do however to make the match a little
more stable and a little safer.
Zerg players have the option for going for all sorts of openers. If you go for a fast expansion and the opponent
does not rush, you have an advantage. If you go for a fast expansion and the opponent opens up with a 10 Pool, you
are way behind in the game. Meanwhile, if you go for a 6 or a 10 Pool and the opponent goes for a more moderate 13
Pool, you will be behind in the game yourself.
The safest bet here is to always stick with a 13 Pool or earlier on 2 player maps. This way, you are prepared
for any early Zergling attacks. On 4 person maps, the risk involved with going Hatchery first is a lot lower. You
will still lose occasionally to a 6 Pool that happens to scout "the right way", but it is rare.
Catching Up to Hatchery First
When going against a Zerg player that goes for a Hatchery first, if you do not Zergling rush yourself, you will
fall behind in the game. This presents a problem for any Zerg that opens with 13 Pool into a Hatchery. Naturally,
you will not be able to scout this in time, so what can you do?
You can catch up just by making an attack with Zerglings while you secure your own base. The early Spawning Pool
means you will have an earlier Queen. You can use the Inject Larva to make a round of Zerglings and send them in to
attack. You do not necessarily want to attack the enemy here, just force them to make Zerglings instead of Drones.
This allows your own natural expansion to finish plus allows you to catch up in Drone count.
Blocking Zerglings and Banelings
Enemy Zerglings and Banelings will try to push into your main base if they can. This is a disaster if allowed to
occur because Banelings can blow up Drones and Zerglings can be incredibly annoying. Prevent Zerglings and
Banelings from flooding into your main by positioning two Queens on the ramp leading up to the main on "hold
position". They will block any units from being able to get by. Drones can get through these wall-ins if you right
click on a mineral patch at the base the Drones want to reach.
To protect your Drones at the natural expansion, add on a Spine Crawler in addition to the Queen that will
already be positioned there. Use the Spine Crawler to focus-fire down Banelings that try to enter the mineral line.
Additionally, peel of Zerglings one at a time and try to trigger enemy Banelings. This micro battle is very common
Using the Roach
If you can hold the initial Zerglings and hate the Baneling micro battles, you can alternatively move up to
Roaches. This is a defensive move since Roaches have a hard time off the creep, but Roaches shut down any Baneling
attacks. If you get enough Roaches, you can even push out and take down a surprised enemy who has invested too
heavily in Zerglings or economy.
Early Roaches also work great for those who want to use Hydralisks once they get up to lair tech. It allows the
Zerg to start researching upgrades early since Missile and Carapace upgrades will carry over.
ZvZ: Mid Game Strategy
If you survived to the mid game, things are a lot more stable in ZvZ. There are several good but different
unit compositions. The strength of each depends on the player.
Roaches and Hydralisks
Roaches and Hydralisks are the safest and easiest unit composition for Zerg player to use in the mid game. They
are strong against really anything the Zerg player can throw against them. The only exception is the Swarm Host -
do not engage the Swarm Host directly. Try to avoid its Locusts and instead specifically target the Swarm
When using Roaches and Hydralisks, you must secure your base against Mutalisks. You cannot be pinned down in
your base afraid to leave due to Mutalisks. Add on 1-2 Spore Crawlers at each of your bases to prevent this from
happening. Spore Crawlers are cheap and completely destroy the Mutalisk.
Mutalisks and Zerglings
Mutalisks and Zerglings are a popular combination, even after the Spore Crawler buff. Mutalisks are fast, can
fly, and regenerate quickly. They are used to control the enemy Zerg, picking off exposed units, buildings, and
structures. Good Mutalisk play involves using the Mutalisks to find the 1 tiny weakness in the enemy's set up. Good
Zerg players will be mindful of the enemy's Spore Crawler location and will be able to bounce around their base,
avoiding crawlers and focusing on exposed units and structures.
The Zerglings are used mostly on sacrificial missions since you will have a lot of excess minerals building up
if you are using mostly Mutalisks. Use pack of Zerglings to try to rush down new enemy expansions, Queens, or
really anything that is undefended. If the enemy has all their units at the third trying to secure it, try to run
the pack of Zerglings into the main.
Securing the Third
Taking your third base can be trying in ZvZ. By the time you move out to the third, you make yourself very
vulnerable to Zerglings running up the middle or Mutalisks coming in from behind.
One safe way to do this is to add on multiple defensive structures. Minerals come cheap anyway in mid-late game
ZvZ, so there is no harm in this. Gas is likely to be your limiting resource. Add on 1-2 Spore Crawlers and 1-2
Spine Crawlers at the main and natural expansion. You can also add on a few near the ramp up to your main. Once you
secure your third, you can uproot those and plant them at the third base.
Even after the nerf, the Infestor is an interesting unit to add to the mix in ZvZ. Just a couple of Infestors
pairs very well with Roaches and Hydralisks - the Fungal Growth makes for good additional DPS. You only need a
couple Infestors to fulfill this purpose.
Infestors also make for a great defense against Mutalisks. If you can trap a pack of enemy Mutalisks within
range of a Spore Crawler with Fungal Growth, that pack of Mutalisks will assuredly die. Combined with automated
defense, a couple of Infestors can easily hold down the Zerg base from any sort of assault.
Zerg vs Zerg: Late Game Strategy
In the late game, Zerg vs Zerg is not much different from in the mid game. Additional resources make it possible
to mix in units like Ultralisks, Vipers, Brood Lords, and more Infestors, but the general idea is the same.
Mutalisks in the Late Game
A Zerg player who has been using a lot of Mutalisks throughout the game may just continue to build up a larger
and larger Mutalisk flock. If you start with 10 Mutalisks and manage to keep most of them alive, you can keep
adding on more and more until you have 20. By the late game, a Mutalisk fleet might reach as many as 30 or more
Once you have this huge number of Mutalisks, you can start engaging single Spore Crawlers directly. Pick them
off here and there to create new weaknesses in the Zerg base. Once you pick off some Spore Crawlers, you can start
bouncing around and hitting Hatcheries. Your biggest weakness here is the Infestor - try not to stay still when
Infestors are around.
Ultralisks or Brood Lords?
Ultralisks are very good in ZvZ simply because they have no real counter. The only downside to using the
Ultralisk is that if you have been using Roaches and Hydralisks or Mutalisks all game, you may not have good
upgrades. Ultralisks in the late game need to be 3/3 to be fully effective. You can use Ultralisks to rush down
enemy expansions. Combined with Queens for Transfuse, Ultralisks are difficult to stop. Masses of Roaches and
Hydralisks do not do well against Ultralisks, particularly when a Viper drops a good Blinding Cloud or
Brood Lords can work, but like Ultralisks, they work best with good upgrades. Brood Lords are also very slow and
fragile, so adding them to your army does automatically reduce your mobility. They can be good if the enemy has
gone overboard with automated defense, Swarm Hosts, and Infestors.
Sticking with Roaches and Hydralisks
One good option is to just stick with Roaches and Hydralisks, particularly if you have already have maxed out
upgrades. As you get more resources, a Viper or two makes for a good support unit. Abduct can be used to pull
valuable enemy units (i.e. Ultralisks or Brood Lords) within range of all your Hydralisks and Roaches,
allowing you to burn them down quickly.
Infestors also make for a good support unit here. Fungal Growth is great for DPS. Even Infested Terrans are
strong if you can save up full energy bars on your Infestors.
The Importance of Static Defense
In the late game of ZvZ, you will have a lot of excess minerals. You should invest some of those in automated
defense. Keeping all your expansions secure so you can keep the vespene gas flowing and the Hatcheries producing
Larva is a lot more important than squeezing out a few extra Zerglings.
You should have 1 Spore Crawler at each base for every ~10-12 enemy Mutalisks. The number of Spine Crawlers
you add depends on your own resources and the enemy's unit composition. If you have 1k+ minerals banked and zero
gas, you might as well plunk a few Spine Crawlers down. If you have no minerals but have some gas, you want to
avoid spending on automated defense when possible.
Zerg vs Zerg does not have to be threatening. You can slow the game down and make it Follow these strategies and
you will crush your opponents in ZvZ with ease.