ZvT 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 relies on you spotting your opponent opening with a Command Center First build.

Build Order

  • 9 – Overlord
  • 10 – Drone Scout for Proxy Barracks and eventually head towards opponent’s base to spot Command Center First
  • 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.


Drone scouting with this build is absolutely crucial because you cannot perform this build against any sort of early aggression, whether it be Proxy Barracks or an 8-8-8 Reaper opener.  Therefore, you should Drone scout no later than 12 supply and search all around for possible proxies before heading to your opponent’s base and confirming that they are indeed going for a Command Center First opener.  You must spot the Command Center building before you reach 16 supply, for otherwise you will miss your opportunity to start a 16 Spawning Pool and go into standard ZvT play against non-Command Center First builds.

Obviously, if you spot a proxy Barracks going up, immediately start your Spawning Pool instead of your 3rd Hatchery and defend your natural as you would in a normal game (with a Queen, Spine Crawler or two, and Zerglings).


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 an Extractor and getting Metabolic Boost, Lair, 2 Evolution Chambers, and a Banelings Nest is the most common transition, but macro Roach play or 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 is only viable against Command Center First openers, so you must Drone scout both for potential proxy Barracks attacks and to confirm that your opponent is opening with a Command Center First.

Favorable Maps

This build is strong on any map that encourages Command Center First openers, so going into a game with 3 Hatch Before Pool as your plan on maps with less Reaper cliffs and more open areas is a smart plan.

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


soO performing this build against Maru at the WCS Season 3 Finals 2013

3 Hatch Before Pool Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI