ZvP Leenock’s 3 Base Ultra Timing

General Overview

This build opens with fast upgrades and mass Speedlings to crush any midgame attacks.  It then transitions into a strong 3 base Ultralisk timing to either cripple the Protoss opponent or outright win the game.

Build Order

  • 9 – Overlord
  • 15 – Hatchery
  • 16 – Spawning Pool
  • 16 – Extractor
  • 17 – Overlord
  • 19 – @100% Spawning Pool, start 2 Queens and 2-6 Zerglings
  • @100 Gas, start Metabolic Boost
  • @100% Queens, start 1 more Queen at natural
  • @175 Gas, start 2 Evolution Chambers
  • @100% Evolution Chambers, start +1 Melee Attack and +1 Carapace
  • Benchmark: When you start +1/+1 (@6:30ish), you should have 3 Queens, 35 Drones, and 2 Speedlings
  • @100 Gas, start Lair and scout with an Overlord
    • If you see macro play from your opponent, continue with this build.  Otherwise, pump Speedlings to crush any incoming pushes.
  • @50% +1/+1, start a 3rd Hatchery, a 4th Queen, and a 2nd Extractor
  • @100% 4th Queen, start 2 more Extractors and a 5th Queen
    • Start extra Queens with any excess minerals
  • @100% +1/+1, start +2/+2, an Infestation Pit, and a macro Hatchery
  • @100% Infestation Pit, start Hive
  • Benchmark: When you start Hive (@10:30ish), you should have 6 Queens, +1/+1, +2/+2 on the way, and around 60+ Drones
  • @100% Hive, start +3/+3, an Ultralisk Cavern, and Adrenal Glands
  • @100% Ultralisk Cavern, start Chitinous Plating and as many Ultralisks as you can afford.
  • Benchmark: You should max out when your first Ultralisks pop (@14:20ish) with 66 Drones, up to 7 Ultralisks, up to 12 Queens, and mass Speedlings


Scout first with your 2 initial Zerglings, use them to take the Xel’Naga Watchtowers or send them outside the front of the Protoss base depending on the map.   Check to see whether your opponent is Gateway expanding or Forge expanding.  Be wary of early pressure if your opponent is Gateway expanding.

With your 7:00 overlord scout, consider adding a Baneling Nest if you are up against a Gateway timing.  Make mass Speedlings to defend any 2 base ground plays or ramp up Queen production early to defend any 2 base air plays.

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.

Ideally, your Ultras should be out with +5/+3 around 15:50. Commit to an attack as soon as possible when these upgrades finish.  If you have yet to take a 4th base and Spire or Hydralisk Den by this stage in the game, get them now.


This build, contrary to most IMBAbuilds, takes you into the late game.  Thus, there is no “transition” per se.  If you can win the game with this push, then be sure to attack in an open position and take the game quickly.  If you cannot win the game outright, then fall back on your 4 base economy and tech switch to whatever best counters your opponent’s army.


Against Pylon blocks

  • If you want to try and guarantee the Hatchery being placed, send a Drone to your natural around 11/12 supply and hide it there. This might trick Protoss into thinking that you are going Pool first.  Note that this will not work every time, and it also will not stop a Protoss dedicated to Pylon blocking you.
  • A 15 Pool/15 Hatch/15 Gas opener (or at worst – if they fail to cancel the Pylon – a 15 Pool/15 Gas/and Hatchery as soon as you can) will be fine in this case.  The most important thing is starting your Extractor on time, not the natural Hatchery.
  • Be sure to make 4-6 Zerglings to take the pylon down if you need to, and go up to 3 Queens as soon as you can – just like normal.
  • Once you place your Extractor, the first 100 gas goes to Metabolic Boost, and place your Evolution Chambers when you get to 175 gas like normal to transition back into the build.

The Engagement

  • Bring your Queens to transfuse, and any optional Infestors or Banelings you made to force good engagements.
  • Do NOT engage into a Protoss wall. You want to engage in as open an area as you possibly can for your melee army to do maximum damage.
  • Do NOT engage without your queens in transfuse range unless you are sure you can take a strong fight.  Strong creep spread with all of your Queens helps tremendously.
  • Try to avoid Archons with your Zerglings; use the Ultralisks to tank those. Similarly, focus your Zerglings on Stalkers and Immortals; keep your Ultralisks away from those.
  • If you use Ultralisks to crush any forcefields, Zerglings can actually deal with Colossi quite easily as they take minimal damage whilst underneath the Colossi.

Pros and Cons

This build is very strong against a “standard” Protoss army of Gateway units, Colossi and some Stargate or Templar units.  Also, this timing attack has the strong potential to end the game.

However, this build is somewhat simple for Protoss to scout and is vulnerable to timing attacks and all-ins when you only have upgraded Speedlings to defend.  Also, if your Protoss opponent is positioned in a well defended location, the engage can be quite difficult to perform well.

Favorable Maps

This build is strongest on maps with a wide-open third base – when you hit your opponent with the 3 base Ultra timing, you’ll be able to fight in the open field and not be stuck behind buildings/terrain with your melee army.

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


Leenock performing this build against NaNiwa in the Dreamhack Stockholm finals

Masters Example Replay of this build in action

Leenock’s 3 Base Ultra Timing Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI


Written by Stark

Follow him @StarkSCII