This 3 Hatchery opening is the safest way to establish three bases vs a Forge Fast Expanding Protoss. It gives you all the tools to defend any Protoss all-in, execute your own all-in, and transition into any style of macro play that you want (with the exception of the mass Speedling/early double upgrade play).
HyuN is the most notable user of this opener, having modernized it and created some new Heart of the Swarm transitions with the build at MLG and Dreamhack, even though it was originally popularized by Stephano, and used by most every Zerg player.
- 9 – Overlord
- 15 – Spawning Pool
- 15 – Hatchery
- 15 – Overlord
- @100% Spawning Pool, start a Queen and 2 Zerglings
- @100% Queen, start 3rd Hatchery and 2nd Queen
- @1st Creep Tumor, start 3rd Queen
- Benchmark: When you start your 3rd Queen (@5:15), you should have 2 Queens and around 25 Drones.
- @100% 3rd Queen, start 2 Extractors
- @100% Extractors, start Roach Warren
- @100 Gas, start Lair and Evolution Chamber
- @100 Gas, start Metabolic Boost and 3rd Extractor
- @100 Gas, start +1 Missile Attack, Macro Hatchery, and 4th Extractor
- @100% Lair, start Roach Speed
- Benchmark: When you start Roach Speed (@8:45ish), you should have 3 Queens and around 60 Drones.
Send your first Overlord to scout your opponent’s natural wall to spot for a Forge Fast Expand, and then send it to a safe area for a later 7:00 scout. Consider using your 2nd Overlord to guard your natural expansion against Cannon Rushes. Your next Overlords can be placed around your opponent’s main or natural base as backup scouts or for vision of their 3rd base. If your first Overlord scouts your opponent going for a Gateway expand, then you should abandon getting the third base, instead getting an Extractor and starting Metabolic Boost before taking your 3rd.
Once you start your 3rd base, use your initial Zerglings to scout around the map for Probes and proxy Pylons. Keep a Zergling outside his front to scout for any early pokes, and avoid any Stalkers or the Mothership Core whenever possible.
Scout with an Overlord at 7:00 to get a read on your opponent’s chosen midgame tech path. This scout can tell you whether or not to build Spore Crawlers. However, even if you do not get any definitive scouting information with this sacrificial Overlord, it is safest to place a Spore Crawler at your natural and 3rd expansion anyway on the off-chance your opponent is going for some kind of proxy double Stargate or proxy Dark Shrine.
If you do not get a read on what your opponent is doing and still want to be super safe, then making a round of defensive units at 8:00 will keep you safe against the early +1 Gateway all-ins. This will give you some units to contest with their first warp-in as well as scout for proxy Pylons.
Against a 2 base Colossus push, consider adding a Spire for Corruptors if you need more defense. Also, regardless of whether or not you need to make Corruptors for defense, you should start Air upgrades in case of a Mutalisk switch after you have maxed out with your Ultralisk army.
This can transition into any style of Zerg play besides the mass Speedling/early double upgrade play because it is necessary to start the Evolution Chambers from a 2 base gas opener around 6:00.
For a Roach/Hydra timing to contest your opponent’s third, throw down 2 more Extractors, a Hydralisk Den, and pump out a round of Roaches and Overlords. Start Hydralisk Speed and move out with rallied Roaches and Hydralisks around the 10 minute mark.
For a quick Viper transition (if you are sure your opponent is not going for a 2 base timing attack), throw down an Infestation Pit, all Extractors, and then Hive as soon as possible. Start as many Vipers as you can afford as well as several extra Evolution Chambers for extra energy using your Viper’s Consume ability.
- If your first Overlord scouts your opponent going for a Gateway expand, then you should abandon getting the third base, instead getting an Extractor and starting Metabolic Boost before taking your 3rd.
- If your natural gets Pylon blocked, then you can make an early Overlord at 15 supply instead of the Hatchery in order to buy some time against it. If your opponent lets the Pylon finish, then simply making 4-6 Zerglings to take the Pylon down should be enough of a commitment before returning back to the build.
- Being thorough about checking for early proxy Pylons across the map with your early game Zerglings is crucial against early Protoss timings. Being able to spot aggression and stop it before it can even begin is the easiest way to avoid quick losses.
- Be sure you send in an Overlord scout at 7:00. Spotting your opponent’s midgame tech informs your next step with this build (whether it be more Drones, a Hydralisk Den, or Spore Crawlers).
Pros and Cons
This build opens with a hugely economic opening while still being safe. It also gives you the tools to scout for and defend any 2 base Protoss all-in as well as transition into macro play against a 3 base Protoss should you choose to do so.
However, this build is not designed to defend against a Gateway expand because it is nearly impossible to hold your 3rd Hatchery against early 4gate pressure. Thus, this build is only best against Forge Fast Expanding opponents.
This build is strongest on maps with an easily defensible natural, encouraging FFE play instead of a Gateway Expand.
- Akilon Wastes
- Derelict Watcher
Mid Masters FPVOD (handles pylon block)
HyuN’s 3 Hatchery Opening Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI (with a transition assuming a 2base non-Stargate Protoss all-in included!)
Written by Stark
Follow him @StarkSCII