Hello TL forum-goers, thank you very much for checking out my newest SC2 article.
A lot of my previous threads have been all about attack-attack-attack. You might know me as a very aggressive (some would argue “cheesy”) Zerg player, but I did make it to Grand Master twice on the NA server and I'm writing this guide to emphasize the supreme importance of Macro, even if you're a balls-to-the-wall aggressive player.
You need money to make units. Simply put, how you GET the units you want to attack with is just as important as what you DO with them. So my goal in this guide is to help you to pay extremely close attention to the precise details of your build order, because I think it's really your planning/macro that makes the difference between an average all-in and an extremely potent timing attack.
I will use the following ZvT roach/ling timing attack to emphasize my point:
8Roaches / 32 Speedlings arrive at terran natural ramp at 7:15
We'll go over all the build order/timing basics in steps one and two to show you how to execute this powerful early game attack, but the main focus of this guide will be step 3, where I break down the build into a detailed analysis to show you how you can maximize your early-game economy, perfect your build order and timings, and execute an 8Roach/32+ Zergling attack while taking a 3rd base at the 7:15.
This will allow you to put on early pressure, hold off any mid-game counterattacks, and still reach a comfortable late-game:
Maxed out Infestor/Crackling/Ultralisk with +3/+3 on the way by the 15:30 Mark.
It's important to note that although we'll be looking at a Zerg build that I use against Terran, the key concepts in this guide can be applied to the all-around game play of all the races. The reason this is such a relevant concept for all players is simple: I'm going to explain the macro-structure of the build – how all the pieces come together. This concept is not often studied in great detail but is, in my experience, incredibly important to success on the Starcraft II battlefield.
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I copy/pasted the opening text of Steps 1 and 2 from my detailed guide on the 14Gas/14Pool Speedling Expand:
Some of the concepts I discuss in this thread are taken from my University Lectures on Fundamentals of Aggressive Zerg:
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So, I'm going to remind you of that annoying advice that you probably got from your 5th or 6th grade English teacher when you first started essay writing – and that's “first you have to have an outline, then you have to have a rough draft, then you have to have a final draft, then you have to polish it.” And you know, this advice is pretty much right in SC2 as well.
However, most people don't work this way, most of my students do not sit down and first sketch an outline of a build, and then practice, and then make some alterations, and then practice, and then make a final build order. What they do is open a game and start playing, haha and it's what I used to do also. However, if you're dedicated to learning and perfecting a build, this isn't the optimal way to proceed. Instead, you have to have structure and the following steps should be utilized when trying to learn a new build:
Step One: Learn the Basic Structure
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When you start to do something that's a little bit beyond what you can easily handle, all your technique starts to fall apart, all the little things start to go – and this is what happens learning/practicing a build! You're trying to work out a very complex build, and YOU'RE thinking “I need help with my micro, I need help with my control, look at all these mistakes I'm making, etc”. The problem isn't with the micro or your control. The problem is that your brain is trying to process the complicated ideas that you're working on. And while all that mental energy is going into those ideas, the little things – the micro, the control, the build order timings – are starting to fall apart. So what we're trying to do when learning a build is to get our brains to help us rather than to get in our way. The best way that I know how to do this is through structure – if you figure out what the large-scale structure of your build is supposed to be, THEN you can slot in all the other little pieces and it'll work much more effectively than you might believe.
Look at the top pro Morrow: he's was known for opening 14gas/14pool nearly every single game he played Zerg. As a result, his responses to his opponents are always so crisply executed and he's rarely thrown off by things like early aggression and harassment. Clearly, a structured build is important to success and once you're comfortable with the opening, you'll be ready to proceed to the strategy. Here are the basics of the 14Hatch Ling/Roach Timing Attack:
14Hatch Roach/Ling Timing Attack
20Lingsx2/4 (1-2 sets)
Drones to 28
28 Warren (Replace Drone)
Start Zergling Speed
60/60 3rd Base/Overlord
These basic details, without any other information, should be practiced repetitively so that the order becomes memorized/second-nature. If you're frequently forgetting to build overlords at the appropriate times, you're not ready to focus on anything more complicated than that. When the order in which you execute a build is flawless and you know every move before you make it, you're ready to move onto step two:
Step 2: Think Early Game Strategy
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Specific Timings to consider with the 14 Hatch Roach/Ling:
4:15 – 2-4Lings Spawn - You should kill your opponent's scouting worker and take the xel-naga. This will give you the information you need to determine whether you should make more lings, because if you see 6 marines coming you might NOT want to drone all the way to 28. You should only really feel safe from pressure in the early game once you kille his scouting worker and have the xel-naga vision between your base and his, with one ling patrolling the front of his base. Generally speaking, you will not experience heavy marine pressure so you only need 1 zergling to scout the front of your opponent's base and 1-2 zergling(s) to take the xel naga(s). If you have all 4 lings out front of the terran's base, you'll lose them to 1 hellion.
4:40 – Both Queens Pop - You can spit with both these queens, but you should bring your main queen to your expansion use after the first inject (To defend hellions and spread one tumor). No hellions can hit you before your queens will finish, and usually only 1-2 hellions will be there before you get roaches on the field.
4:45 You start your warren. Typically you want to build this in your main, as it's less likely to be scouted by his hellions (Remembers, hellions never get up your ramp because you have 2 queens)
4:50 Start Zergling Speed. This may seem late to many players, but you don't end up needing early speed with your first hundred gas. It's much better to delay it, get your roach warren started, and then start the speed.
5:10 – 2x Overlords. It's very important not to forget these, as any seconds late will delay your roaches which could potentially mean drone losses if terran is aggressive with hellions.
5:15/5:30 If he does decide to pressure with his 2 hellions at around 5:15/5:30 before your roaches are out, do NOT make zerglings. Instead, run your expansion drones up the ramp into your main and just hold your queens on the ramp until roaches spawn.
5:40 You should have the 200 gas you need to build your 8 roaches, so you can take guys out of gas and move them to mining your expansion.
5:45 – Roach warren finishes and you can start 8 roaches right away.
6:00 2xOverlords. Again, don't forget these overlords! They're needed to produce lings as soon as the roaches are out, and they're crucial to the effectiveness of your timing attack.
6:20 Roachx8 Spawn (Just in time to deal with that scary 4-6 hellion count). You can lead with 3 roaches and then the other roaches a bit later to “meta-game” a bit, or you can just move right out with all 8 roaches and rally the hatcheries onto the roaches to reinforce with lings.
6:25 – Lings Building, your roaches are moving towards terran.
6:40 – Ling speed finishes JUST as your lings pop, allowing them to get to your roaches very quickly. Earlier speed would have been wasted, so it times out just right
7:15 -Your army reaches the terran expansion/ramp while you start your 3rd base.
Step 3: Perfecting The Details
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Here is the replay for the macro-lesson: http://drop.sc/88288
1) Drone Splitting: For general purposes, take all 6 drones and right click either patch 3 or 6. Then select 3 while they're on the way and right click the other patch.
2) Next, rally additional drones to mineral patches that aren't being mined yet. If you forgot and rallied to the bottom patch, for example, your drone would first go to that patch, then “bounce” off and go to one of the top two patches. Earn a few extra mining seconds by rallying to patches that aren't being mined.
3) One patch left that isn't mined, rally to that one.
4) Now that you have 1 drone on each mineral patch, it's time to double-mine the closer patches. Make sure your drones “Stick” to the patches you want them to go to. What often happens is the drone you rally will get there at the same time as the drone that is already mining, causing one of them to “Bounce”. You can avoid this by repetitively right clicking the patch with both drones (or the one that wants to bounce)
5) Again, we're rallying to those closer patches
6) Uh oh one drone wants to bounce, continuously right click until it “sticks”
7) When constructing a building, you want to avoid pulling drones off mining when possible. For example, with a 14 hatch you can rally your 14th drone to build the hatchery.
8) Same thing with your pool, try to rally one of your drone eggs to do this instead of using a drone that's currently mining.
9) When gas is finishing, choose drones that are closer to the extractor but NOT those that are double-mining the close patches. Notice the drones pulled are either just popping out of eggs or just returning minerals. (Helps avoid wasted mining time/mining gas with a mouth full of minerals)
10) Drone selection
11) Drones all in gas, notice those 4 close patches still have 2 mining per patch.
12) 16 Overlord, try to get in the habit of rallying those eggs.
13) Your pool and hatchery should finish at about the same time, produce 2 queens and a set or 2 of lings right away. Don't transfer to expansion unless you need drones to defend, remember we want those drones mining 2 per patch.
14) After those lings, go right back into droning.
15) Rally drones to get 2 mining per patch, remember to make them stick.
16) ATTENTION: Now we have 2 mining per patch (total: 16 drones). We can rally hatchery to expansion minerals. These 16 drones are NEVER touched for any reason, unless you're forced to defend with them.
17) Even when building a warren in your main at 28, you don't pull a drone off mining – you use a rallied drone instead.
18) Replace that drone that built the warren and start speed at 28/28
19) 28/28 – Make 2 overlords and rally them right away.
20) Once you've mined 200 gas (not including ling speed) take guys out of gas and mine at expansion.
21) When warren is done, start 8 roaches immediately. Should put you at 44/44 with NO RESOURCES left over.
22) Rally your lings onto your roaches, make lings until 60 supply (44-60)
23) Once you're at 60, move a drone from your expansion to start your 3rd.
24) 8 Roaches, 32 Lings, and a 3rd on the way at 7:15. Not bad!
25) While we're pressuring with roaches, we can be making overlords, a 3rd queen, and drones.
26) When it's time to add gas or refill the geyser, use rallied drones AGAIN. You don't want to ever pull drones off your main 16 drone 2-per patch formation.
27) Even when building additional structures like your 2nd gas, don't pull drones off mining.
28) By 9 Minutes, we have 2 fully mineral-saturated bases (2 per patch at 2 bases, 32 drones mining minerals)
29) Main still has those 16 drones mining.
30) At 10 minutes, our macro is in over-drive. Upgrades, Lair, drones (Unless he's counter-attacking)
31) Wow...By 10:10, even though we made all those units, we're at 52 drones with a 3rd base and 4 queens, lair almost done, +1+1 on the way.
32) By 11:00, we can start our 4th and be up to 60 drones.
33) By 12:00, our infestation pit is almost done and we can be at 80+ drones, and hive on the way
34) 13:15 we have +2+2, lots of infestors and lings on the way.
35) By 14:00, we've got an incredible economy with all the tech we need on the way
36) By 15:30, we're maxed out with excellent upgrades and ultralisks on the way.
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I look forward to reading comments and answering questions below.
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I already knew aggressive Zerg was a strong and viable option (78)
No, it might work, but Zerg players that open with this style are cheesy and all-in (28)
I see that there are some pros/cons to both styles, but I'll stick to the standard macro zerg (22)
269 total votes
Your vote: Did this guide alter your opinions of aggressive Zerg?
(Vote): Yes, I see now that zerg can open aggressive and transition into macro
(Vote): No, it might work, but Zerg players that open with this style are cheesy and all-in
(Vote): I see that there are some pros/cons to both styles, but I'll stick to the standard macro zerg
(Vote): I already knew aggressive Zerg was a strong and viable option
Courtesy of www.TangStarcraft.com
EDIT: I just want to say that all your comments and support have really meant a lot to me, thank you all very much!