ZvT Soulkey’s 3 Base Speed Roach/Baneling Attack

General Overview

This build opens up with a quick 3 base economy in order to fuel a tremendous swell of Roaches and Banelings (both with Speed) for a 10 minute Roach/Baneling attack.

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, 3rd Extractor, and 2 Evolution Chambers
  • @100% Evolution Chambers, start +1 Melee and +1 Carapace
  • ————Above is Scarlett’s 3 Hatchery Macro Opener
  • @100 Gas, start Lair and 4th Extractor
  • @100% Metabolic Boost, start Roach Warren and Banelings Nest
    • Note: Can hide either one or both buildings
  • Benchmark: When you Metabolic Boost finishes (@7:50ish), you should have 4 Queens, and around 50 Drones
  • @100% Lair, start Roach Speed, Baneling Speed, and 5th Extractor
  • @100% 3 base Saturation, start a macro Hatchery and 10+ Overlords
    • 3 base saturation = (16 DronesOnMinerals)*(3 Bases) + (3 DronesOnGas)*(5 Extractors) = 63 Drones
  • @100% Overlords, start as many Roaches as you can afford (25ish), and as many Speedlings as you can afford
  • Push out when +1/+1 finishes (@10:00ish) and rally Speedlings to the fight.
  • Attack your opponent when you morph as many Banelings as you can afford (@11:00ish) with around 25 Roaches and 25 Banelings.  Morph 2 or 3 Overseers and constantly reinforce with Zerglings and Banelings.


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 Speedlings to stay safe.  However, do NOT overproduce early game units because this will slow down your 3 base saturation, and thus your eventual Roach/Baneling attack.

Your next scout will be with an Overlord as soon as you start your Lair (around 7:00).  This is merely to scout whether your opponent is opening with Bio or Mech play.  If you scout your opponent opening with Mech, then do NOT do this build, for this build is strongest against Tank-less openers.

The next scout will be with your actual Roach/Baneling attack.  With this push, you will force your opponent to defend by positioning his army at front where you can see it.  Take note of what unit composition your opponent is going so that you can counter it in the mid and late game.


This is a very strong attack, so any and all transitions from this push depend heavily on how well you perform the attack.  A general rule is that if you have cleaned out one base and done a lot of damage to his army, you can consider yourself ahead.

However, unless you are sure that you can win the game with the attack, do not needlessly over commit your army.  Rather, favor transitioning out of the attack and get your tech and economy ahead of your opponent in order to take the game with a quick max.  Be sure to start +2/+2 with your first gas as soon as you stop reinforcing your army.  Then throw down a midgame tech building of your choosing (Mutalisks/Infestors/Swarm Hosts/Hydralisks) and play a macro game with your advantage.


  • Hide your Roaches for as long as possible before you move out.  The less time you give your opponent to react to your build, the better your chance at crushing through their front.
  • Make a bunch of Overlords BEFORE you need to make all of your units.  However, you will also need to produce Overlords during the fight in order to keep up with your huge supply burst.  Be sure to keep on top of your Overlord production during the fight.
  • If your opponent has opened with Widow Mines, try to force some Widow Mines to detonate with a few Roaches or Speedlings before you commit to the attack.
  • Only use your Banelings to bust through a defended position or kill a pack of Marines/SCVs.  Do NOT lose your all of your Banelings to a huge Siege Tank or Widow Mine shot.
  • Do NOT over commit your Roaches if you are waiting on a second wave of Banelings to morph. It is completely fine to pull back whilst you wait for another round of Banelings.  Zerglings and Banelings can be replaced; your Roaches cannot.
  • Do NOT over commit up your opponent’s main ramp unless you are absolutely sure that you can push through and win the game with the attack.  Favor teching up to a late game army and transitioning into a macro game over potentially taking a bad engagement up the main ramp.

Pros and Cons

This build is incredibly strong against any player going for a Tank-less 3 Command Center build (the current metagame).  Also, because you saturate your third base before moving out, it is quite easy to stop Zergling/Baneling production and transition into a macro game with a strong economic advantage.  Also, as a Zerg player, the engagement itself is quite easy to micro as long as you are aware of your opponent’s Widow Mine/Siege Tank positioning.

However, if you cannot do damage with the 3 base Roach/Baneling attack, then you will be behind the Terran opponent in tech and army.  Also, against the standard upgrade-heavy style of most Terrans, you will most likely be down in upgrades going into a macro game.

Favorable Maps

This will work the best on maps with no ramp into the natural so that you do not have to worry about getting high ground vision anywhere during the Roach/Baneling attack.

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


Soulkey beating Innovation with this build in the WCS KR Season 1 Finals in g4

Soulkey’s 3 Base Roach/Baneling Attack Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI


Written by Stark

Follow him @StarkSCII