ZvP 3 Hatch Before Pool

General Overview

This build is the most greedy build available to Zerg, and as such is incredibly economical but also incredibly unsafe.  Opening 3 Hatch Before Pool requires your scouting to be on point and reacting to any sort of early Cannon Rush perfectly.

Gasless Build Order

  • 9 – Overlord
  • 15 – 2nd Hatchery
  • 18 – 3rd Hatchery
  • 18 – Spawning Pool
  • 18 – Overlord
  • 22 – Overlord
  • @100% Spawning Pool, start 2 Queens and 2 Zerglings
  • @100% 3rd Hatchery, start 3rd Queen
  • Benchmark: When your 3rd Hatchery finishes (@4:55ish), you should have 23 Drones.

Gas Before Pool Build Order

  • 9 – Overlord
  • 15 – 2nd Hatchery
  • 18 – 3rd Hatchery
  • 18 – Extractor
  • 18 – Spawning Pool
  • 18 – Overlord
  • @100% Spawning Pool, start 2 Queens, 2 Zerglings, and Metabolic Boost
    • Pull all Drones out of Extractor after you have mined this 100 Gas
  • 28 – Overlord
  • @100% Overlord, start 3rd Queen
  • Benchmark: When you start your 3rd Queen (@5:15ish), you should have 23 Drones, 2 Zerglings, and Metabolic Boost about 30 seconds researched.

Scouting

This build is an incredibly economic opener that requires you to keep perfect track of any early Probe that gets into your base.  While it is technically feasible to perform this build against both Gateway Expands and Forge Fast Expands, it is much weaker against Forge First FFEs because of the strength of Cannon Rushes.  Your first Overlord should be sent directly to your opponent’s natural to see exactly which opener your opponent is doing – Nexus First FFE, Gateway Expand, or the worrying Forge First FFE.

As soon as you spot your opponent’s Probe (and even if you have not seen it yet), be sure to send out at least 1 Drone to constantly follow it.  If the Probe either blocks the 3rd Hatchery or attempts to Cannon Rush it, you will be forced to abandon this build and go for a more standard Hatchery into Pool build – with an eventual 3rd Hatchery.  Again, you cannot let the Probe build a Pylon outside of your vision, so be sure to tail any scouting Probe constantly with at least 1 Drone to prevent this from happening.

Transitions

Once you have 3 Hatcheries completed, your economy will explode.  Opening 3 Hatch Before Pool lets you transition into every sort of macro style play that you prefer, just with a lot more economy than you otherwise were able to have.  Therefore, transition however you feel most comfortable transitioning.  Starting 2 Extractors and getting Metabolic Boost, Lair, and a Roach Warren for safety is the most common transition, but insta-Spire play is equally viable.

Pros and Cons

This build opens with a ridiculous economy and propels you directly into the midgame with 3 Queens and 3 Hatcheries.  It also can transition into every sort of macro play imaginable.

However, this build requires you spotting and stopping any Cannon Rushes before they begin.  Therefore, it is much stronger against Nexus First or Gateway Expands than a Forge First FFE.

Favorable Maps

This build is strong on any map that encourages Nexus First FFEs or Gateway Expands, so going into a game with 3 Hatch Before Pool as your plan on larger maps or maps with a wide natural choke is a smart plan.

  • Frost
  • Bel’Shir Vestige
  • Whirlwind
  • Polar Night

Replays

ByuL performing the Gasless variant of this build against Trap at the WCS Season 3 Finals 2013

ByuL beating duckdeok with the Gas Before Pool variant of this build at the WCS Season 3 Finals 2013

Soulkey performing the Gas Before Pool variant of this build against Dear in the finals of the WCS Season 3 Finals 2013

3 Hatch Before Pool (Gasless Variant) Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI

3 Hatch Before Pool (Gas Before Pool Variant) Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI