Zerg Tactics – StarCraft II
When it comes to the early game, the Zerg have some pretty varying options. Like any race, you still build up your workers and Overlords but after that there are a couple things that to think of. If you want to make it a quick match, you can rush your enemy. If you want to sit back play a little more passively you can build out your tech. The third option is a very early expand, giving you a second base much sooner than your enemy, which will also boost your production since Zerg production is done solely out of their Hatchery.
The Zerg Rush
The most famous of Zerg armies. The Zergling rush is very easy to do and for a lot of players, it is very hard to stop. The basics of it go like this. Build up your drones until you have 8 total. Now wait for 200 minerals and place a Spawning Pool. While that builds, get another Drone and a second Overlord. By the time they are build, your Spawning Pool will be down, allowing you to queue up 3 Zergling. Now you can either leave now, or you can queue up another batch so that you have 12 total Lings. If you are facing Terran, it is best to leave now before they finish their wall. Protoss and Zerg have a tougher time walling so you can wait those extra seconds to get more Zerglings. Once you have an amount you are happy with, run past all their stuff and tear into the worker units. A key part of this rush is to keep building more lings. If you are initially successful, the worst thing you can do is not follow up. While this attack happens make sure more Zerglings are constantly building and either have them group up as a second army for when the first dies, or if your first army is still surviving then send them in for support immediately. If your enemy was unprepared for this, it is likely they will tap out from this. If they eventually fend you off, you should have at least crippled them so heavily that they have to wait multiple minutes to rebuild their economy.
Expanding as a Zerg player is a must. Your production relies on a healthy economy so having more money and gas benefits you at any stage in the game. Quickly expanding does leave you vulnerable as your army size will be suffering so it is important to only do this if you have scouted your enemy base and sense that they will not apply any early pressure. To quick expand, just make sure you save up your money after having reached the 11 Drone starting cap. You will reach the 300 minerals necessary for your second Hatchery very quickly. Once you have it down, start building out your new mineral line but make sure to get your army production going asap. While your second Hatchery is building, you can have your Queen building back at your first one, as well as getting a Spawning Pool going so Zergling production can start immediately. Having the second Hatchery this early will shoot your income up, allowing you to pump out units at a much faster pace. Building out your economy like this will leave you weaker in the beginning, but your economy will blast past your enemies very quickly, allowing you to amass an army at nearly double the rate of your opponent.
Roaches are a very cheap, very powerful unit that Zerg players can exploit in the early game for punishing an enemy who isn’t prepared. Roaches also don’t require a fancy tech build. Simply build a Roach Warren and you will gain access to them. They do require gas so at least one geyser will need to be turned into an Extractor. The reason Roaches work so well is due to two main features. They have a very large health pool and are considered Armored units. This means that Zerglings, Marines and even Zealots can have a hard time killing them. Stalkers and Marauders are designed to kill them but often times your Roaches will vastly outnumber them so you can power through it. This kind of build works very well on someone who has not scouted you and does not see it coming. The obvious downside to a quick Roach build, is if your enemy spots it coming they can build a single air unit to completely counter you. The Protoss are the most likely to do this as they have easy access to the Mothership Core. When using this army, don’t wait to long to go initiate combat. You can have a handful of Roaches around the 6-7 minute mark, so send them in and tear up whatever you can. The longer you wait, the more units you might have but you will also be giving your enemy more time to prepare.
This is your time to shine. Zerg armies are fast to build and quick on their feet. With your creep ever expanding you can get to hot spots and take out units like it is nothing. Losing dozens of units will barely hurt as you can rebuild them at a seemingly endless pace. The Mid Game for any Zerg player should be about expanding, controlling as much territory as possible while constantly harassing your enemy. One of the strongest things a player can do to secure victory is to aggressively control the map. An enemy who can’t easily expand is an enemy who can’t easily afford big units.
Mutalisks are probably one of the most feared units. It is not because they are particularly tough, or even very strong. No, it’s because they are extremely fast and hard to deal with. These air units can be used to utterly destroy mineral lines in seconds before help can arrive, and when it does they fly away with little concern about being caught. They are so fast in fact, you can fly from base to base while land based units try to keep up, often times resulting in massive loses for your enemy. To build towards Mutalisk tech, you will need quite a bit of gas so use it sparingly in the early minutes of a match. Also make sure you get as many Extractors as you can. You can build Mutalisk off one base, but your gas income will be so slow that you won’t be able to pump them out at any reasonable speed. Ensure to expand quickly so you can claim two more geysers, doubling your gas intake. Using large amounts of Zerglings in the early game is a great way to save on gas and throw your enemy off, making them think you are doing a land army. Remember that Mutalisks rely on speed to survive. If they are caught out of position by Marines, Stalkers or anti-air vehicles they will quickly be thrown from the skies.
If you haven’t guessed it yet, one of the Zerg’s strengths is its mobility. A good tactic for any Zerg player is to try and contain their enemy within their first two bases, or even their main base if possible. Containing your enemy may not seem to directly help you but it pays off big in the long run. While your enemy is forced to collect resources from only a few spots, you will have free range of the map, allowing you to claim multiple bases and form vast armies on a whim. Although your enemy may set up a very strong wall while you contain them, you will be able to toss so many units at them, units they may not expect, that you will inevitably smash through and defeat them.
One of the new units added to HotS, the Viper mixes things up for the Zerg. Like the Infestor, it is strictly used as a caster unit. It’s strongest ability is Abduct, which allows you to pull units from wherever they currently are, to your Viper. This pull can drastically change the outcome of battle when used on large AoE units such as Siege Tanks or Colossus. The unit can then be quickly targeted by your units, demolishing it within a second. Having 3-4 Vipers with your army will allow you to do this multiple times, crippling your enemies defenses. Vipers are costly to build, but should accompany most ground armies to help ensure their survival.
Zerg Siege Machines
Although less popular, the other new unit is the Swarm Host and he is quite different from most other Zerg units. Swarm Hosts are unique in that they are a siege unit. They burrow in the ground and produce Locust to attack the enemies. New Locust spawn on a timer and don’t cost the player anything. Time will tell how to best utilize these new units, as they clash with the quick and agile nature of most other Zerg. One great way to utilize them is in conjunction with Brood Lords. Since both units spawn their own smaller units, the resulting swarm of Locust will rip any land units to shreds. Swarm Hosts also work well against armies comprised of single target units. Immortals, Thor’s and Siege Tanks will all fall quickly as they are overwhelmed in a technique similar to that when players swarm with the Zergling. The Locust can also be used as a meat shield of sorts, going in first absorbing the incoming fire of Siege Tanks or other units while your ranged units come in and start the killing. This is a good tactic to utilize but keep in mind the Locust will fall quickly, so you must overwhelm the enemy in quick order or else you will lose that Locust shield.
Infestors are a caster unit, relying on their abilities to inflict damage. Their most powerful ability is Fungal Growth. If you were a former player, you should know Fungal Growth must now be targeted manually, making it a tougher shot to land. This does not change how incredibly powerful a group of Infestors can be. When playing a game where you are seeing mass amounts of smaller units being built, Infestors are a wise choice. They can support nearly any army with their Fungal Growth which locks enemies in place and does damage over time. They are great at harassing the enemy as well, able to move while burrowed and even fire Infested Terran all from underground. This will allow you to move up to your enemies mineral line and drop a bunch of Infested Terran, destroying their workers. When building towards Infestor units keep one thing in mind, they need a lot of gas to build in large quantities and they need time to charge up their energy. Building 10 Infestors will do nothing for you if you don’t give them time to charge up energy.
The Zerg strategies as games reach this point has changed little since Wings of Liberty. When a match reaches this point, a Zerg player should have taken multiple bases. The one thing that gives them an edge over Terran or Protoss is the vast quantities of minerals and gas they can accumulate due to their rapid expansion. Creep will also be playing a large role in your success at controlling the map. Your units will preform much better when on creep, allowing you to better control and contain your enemy. Matches can be won and lost at this point of the game simply by choking out your enemy, causing them to run out of resources.
Brood Lords and Corrupters
Brood Lords are a devastating unit. Able to bomb targets at long range with freely spawned units, it is tough to handle these forces of destruction. Combine that with the power of the Corrupter, a unit designed to protect the skies, then you will have a wall of death flying through the skies. To maximize your success with this army, use Roaches or Hydralisks on the ground. This will give you a land based support army, keeping units from attacking your air group. The downside of this army is the cost. Making up a group of Brood Lords is a huge investment and will have required the player to own multiple bases. If you sense a game is going to reach this late game stage, start grabbing your air upgrades early so that they are prepared when your units enter the field. Although the cost is large, this army has little to fear. With a good mix of Corrupters and ground units for support, your Brood Lords will have little issue smashing through anything they find.
If you are more of a land unit person, then consider an Ultralisk army for your late game strategy. Often times when players are fighting the Zerg, they use units that do light damage but have heavy AoE. Marines, Colossus, Helbats, these are all great against normal Zerg armies. When Ultralisks appear however, everything changes. They have a huge health pool and have the highest armor in the game. They are the bulldozers of the land and are incredibly hard to stop with other land units. If you are looking to smash through your enemies forces, consider a Ultralisk army with ranged support from Hydralisks or Mutalisks. As with any late game unit, the downside to using this high tech creature is the cost. Players looking to use these behemoths will need to be operating multiple bases so they can secure the vast resources needed to build this army. Ultralisks also preform far better with their upgrades so it is imperative players get them before sending out the army to smash things. Keep in mind that Ultralisks can not attack air, so you will need to check what your enemy has before you attempt this.
Original article: https://www.ign.com/wikis/starcraft-2/Zerg_Tactics