ZvP Jaedong’s 3 Base Ling/Hydra Timing

General Overview

This 3 Hatchery opening transitions into a strong Speedling/Hydralisk timing to hit the third base of Protoss before its economy can kick in.  It then tech switches instantly into Spire or Roach/Hydra/Viper play to best counter the unit composition Protoss has used to defend the pressure.

Build Order

  • 9 – Overlord
  • 15 – Hatchery
  • 16 – Spawning Pool
  • 17 – Overlord
  • @100% Spawning Pool, start 2 Queens and 2 Zerglings
  • @100% Queens, start 3rd Hatchery
  • @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 Gas, start Metabolic Boost
  • @100 Gas, start 2 Evolution Chambers and 1 more Extractor
  • @100% Evolution Chambers, start +1/+1 Missile Attack/Carapace
  • @100 Gas, start Lair and 3 more Extractors
  • @100% Lair, start 2 Hydralisk Den
  • @100% Hydralisk Dens, start Hydralisk Speed, Hydralisk Range, and as many Hydras as your gas will allow.
    • Dump the rest of your minerals and Larvae into Speedlings.
  • Attack your opponent’s 3rd base when Hydralisk Speed finishes (@11:45ish) with around 20 Hydralisks, 50 Speedlings, and around 66 Drones at home.


For all early game scouting (pre-7 minute scouting), please refer to the Scouting section of IMBAbuilds’ write-up of HyuN’s 3 Hatchery Opener.

Once you are into the midgame, all of your scouting will come from what your opponent hits you with, and then later your Ling/Hydra timing attack.  Assuming your opponent has opened with Stargate play, you will either see Phoenix harassing your Overlords/Drones or a Void Ray for defense while your opponent tries to take a third.  As soon as you have confirmed your opponent going for Stargate play (either with an early Overlord scout or by any of the above cues), you can choose to go through with this build.

When you are attacking your opponent’s third base with your Ling/Hydra timing, be sure to note your opponent’s unit composition.  Against Colossus play, throw down a Spire.  Against Stargate play, keep making Hydralisks.  Against Blink play or a strong ground army, transition into Roach/Hydra/Viper play or continue with a Ling/Hydra unit composition and +2/+2 upgrades.


This build is designed to tech switch as soon as you spot the unit composition of your opponent, so it has quite a few transitions.  In all cases, as you are moving out with the Ling/Hydra timing attack, be sure to start your 4th Hatchery.

If your Ling/Hydra timing runs into a Colossus, start a Spire and take 2 more Extractors at your 4th Hatchery.  Go for a hard Mutalisk switch to catch your opponent off-guard and keep applying pressure/harassing your opponent’s Probes, while you take the map and transition into the late game.  Killing off any Phoenix during your Ling/Hydra timing will strengthen this transition dramatically.  Going for a Hive instantly and getting Vipers can be strong against Colossus play too.

If your Ling/Hydra timing runs into a Chargelot/Void Ray or pure Skytoss unit composition, then be sure to keep making Drones and out-expand your opponent OR keep committing to the fight by rallying more and more Hydralisks and Speedlings in an attempt to break your opponent.  If you choose to macro and out-expand your opponent, a Roach/Hydra/Viper unit composition with 2 Evolution Chambers is quite standard – so start +2/+2 Missile upgrades and Hive tech as soon as you can.


  • 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.
  • Also, if you feel unsafe opening with a Hatchery First against a Forge First Fast Expand, then feel free to open with a Pool First into 3 Hatchery Opener and transition into this build in exactly the same manner.
  • 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.
  • There is no need for a Roach Warren if you spot your opponent going for a Forge Fast Expand into Phoenix build, as Jaedong scouts when beating Dear at the WCS Finals.
  • During the Ling/Hydra timing, be sure not to fight in a choke where force fields will split your Zerglings from Hydralisks.
  • During the Ling/Hydra timing, spread your army to help reduce Colossus splash damage.  Target firing any Colossus or getting on top of the Robotics Facility is a great way to perform game-ending damage.
  • Start your 4th Hatchery before the fight so that your transition is backed with maximal economy.  Perform the tech switch reacting to your opponent’s unit composition as soon as you can.

Pros and Cons

This build opens with a hugely economic opening in order to fund a 3 Base Ling/Hydra timing to crush your opponent’s 3rd Nexus.  It also does not commit much to the attack, allowing you to tech switch instantly and counter the unit composition your opponent has chosen to defend their third with.

However, this build is weak to early pressure, for you skip the Roach Warren for safety against early 2 base Protoss attacks.  Also, because this build opens with a gasless 3 Hatchery opener, you should only be performing this build against Forge Fast Expanding players.

Favorable Maps

This build is strongest on maps with open thirds so that the Ling/Hydra timing can do maximal damage.

  • Frost
  • Polar Night
  • Derelict Watcher
  • Yeonsu
  • Whirlwind
  • Bel’Shir Vestige


Jaedong beating Dear with this build at the WCS Global Finals 2013

Jaedong beating Rain with this a variant of this build in the WCS Season 2 Finals 2013 (single Evolution Chamber and single Hydralisk Den version)

Jaedong’s 3 Base Ling/Hydra Timing Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI