ZvT Scarlett’s Macro Mutalisk Style

General Overview

The definitive macro build of modern ZvT, Scarlett’s fast 3 Hatch style quickly transitions into the most commonly used composition of Zergling, Baneling, Mutalisk. Utilizing a gasless opener with a high Queen count and fast upgrades, this is by far the best build with which to learn ZvT.

Build Order

  • 9 – Overlord
  • 15 – Hatchery
  • 16 – Spawning Pool
  • 17 – Overlord
  • 19 – @100% Spawning Pool, start 2 Queens and 2 Zerglings
  • 24 – Overlord
  • 30 – @100% Queens, start 2 more Queens
  • 36 – 2 Extractors
  • @100% Extractors, start 3rd Hatchery
  • @100 Gas, start Metabolic Boost, and 2 Evolution Chambers
  • @100% Evolution Chambers, start +1 Melee and +1 Carapace
  • Benchmark: When you start +1/+1 (@7:45ish), you should have 4 Queens and around 50 Drones
  • ————–Above is Scarlett’s 3 Hatchery Macro Opener
  • @100 Gas, start your Lair and go up to 4 Assimilators
  • @50% Lair, go up to 6 Assimilators, start Baneling Nest and Macro Hatchery
  • @ 3rd base saturation, start your 4th base
  • @100% Lair, immediately begin Spire and Overlord Speed
  • @100% +1/+1 and the Baneling Nest (should finish roughly together), immediately start +2/+2 and Baneling Speed
  • @100% Overlord Speed, Start an Overseer, and send Overlords to excrete creep/hold position on all potential Terran 4th bases
  • @100% Spire start +1 Flyer Attack
  • @100% 4th base, immediately take and saturate gasses


First scout with your initial Zerglings.  Use them to take the Xel’Naga Watchtowers or send them outside the front of Terran’s base depending on the map. If you see Terran move out with some kind of very early force, make a few Zerglings to stay safe.  However, do NOT overproduce early game units because this will slow down your 3 base saturation, and thus your midgame strength. Your next scout will be with an Overlord just after you start your +1/+1 (@7:15ish).  This is merely to scout whether your opponent is opening with 3 base Bio play, 3 base Mech play, or a 2 base timing. If your opponent is going Mech, immediately abandon this build. Zerglings and Banelings are highly ineffective against Hellbats, Hellions, and Siege Tanks, so begin violently tech switching based off of Terran’s composition; Mutalisks for Tanks, Swarm Hosts for Hellbat Thor, etc. Continuing Mutalisk production is fine, but be sure to take a much earlier 5th base and Infestation Pit, as well as a Roach Warren. If your opponent is opening bio, proceed as the build dictates.


As soon as you confirm that your opponent is going for a 3rd Command Center, feel free to start your 4th Hatchery.  Against Mech play, transitioning into Swarm Hosts, Mutalisks, or Vipers is very strong.  Against Bio/Mine play, transitioning into Zergling/Baneling/Mutalisk or mass Zergling/Baneling is also quite strong. Assuming you have not scouted Mech, your transition into standard Zergling/Baneling/Mutalisk should serve you fine against any bio based composition. Emphasize Zerglings against Bio/Mine, Banelings against Bio/Hellbat, and Mutalisks against Marine/Tank.


  • Be sure that you take map control with your initial Zerglings.  Being able to spot when and with what your opponent moves out on the map can be crucial in defending any early timings.
  • Metabolic Boost will not finish until just before 8 minutes with this build.  If your opponent is hitting you very early, then a Spine Crawler and/or extra Queens will be more useful than slow Zerglings.
  • As above, beware Reapers pressuring the Drone that attempts to take your 3rd base. You will have to defend it cautiously with Queens and your slower Zerglings. This is where creep spread will greatly assist you.
  • Just after you start your +1/+1 upgrades, be sure to send a sacrificial Overlord into your opponent’s base to check whether your opponent is going for a Mech or Bio build.
  • Against a Banshee based opener, over-produce Queens and conserve energy for Transfuses, without compromising either your creep spread or your injects too much.
  • Be aware of the flow of each Terran composition. For example, Bio/Mine typically means non stop aggression, so usage of static defense to buy time and Mutalisks to intercept reinforcements is critical.
  • Mutalisks are prioritized in this build over the other two components; Zerglings and Banelings. It is important to be as active with them as possible without compromising your macro.
  • Against Bio/Mine, engage in small groups whenever possible to abuse the long cooldown of Widow Mines to the maximum effect.
  • Against Bio/Hellbat/Thor, be sure to emphasize a ground army instead of a Mutalisk based composition. More Banelings and a faster hive are highly recommended, and be sure to fight on creep to get the best possible Baneling connections.
  • Be aware of the standard creep clearing push that every bio Terran executes between 10 to 12 minutes, using their first two Medivacs, 15 to 25 Marines with Combat Shield/Stimpack, and the survivors of the Reaper/Hellion squad; be sure to have Banelings ready to defend, and surrender non essential creep tumors (any tumors placed upon paths he will not attack on).
  • Using the Mutalisks to deny the fourth base as long as possible is critical to victory. Because you have made so many Mutalisks, your own Hive Tech will be delayed, so you must delay Terran as long as possible in turn.
  • The build gets looser and more flexible as the game goes on, as is to be expected. As you are first trying out this build, you will either be far too greedy, and die with too many Drones, or far too safe, and die with not enough Drones. Constantly adjust the ratio of Drones to units based upon what you scout and the flow of the game, and learn the precise moments when you are completely free to Drone, and when you are not to maximize your success with this build.

Pros and Cons

This build is strong against almost all standard Terran openers.  It gets 4 Queens for safety, injects, creep spread, and to defend a very quick 3rd Hatchery.  With such a fast third, your midgame economy is also quite solid. This build is also currently viewed as the best way to play macro ZvT. It has no inherent weaknesses, and thus will always guarantee that the better player wins the game.

However, because you delay your Extractors in favor of 4 Queens, this build is not as safe against 1 Base all-ins than an opener that gets a very fast Metabolic Boost. Additionally, because you are opening gasless, Reaper openers have to be defended purely with Queens and your Terran opponent may be more inclined to play much greedier than he normally would against a gas opener.

Favorable Maps

This build is better on maps where your 3rd is easily reachable from your natural by creep.  On these maps, your Queens are more able to defend your 3rd from any Reaper/Hellion pressures. On maps, that have very far away third bases, your morphing Hatchery is susceptible to Reaper/Hellion harass, especially three Reaper openings. Additionally, early 2 base pushes that hit before you scout with an Overlord, such as Bomber’s 3CC Combat Shield Timing, have the potential to do game ending damage if you do not identify it early enough.


Scarlett defeating Bomber using a variant of this build

Day9 Daily discussing this build

Lowko video discussing this build

Replay Demonstration of Scarlett’s Macro Mutalisk Style vs a Very Easy AI


Written by Stark