This is a safe variation of the standard ZvZ build, opening up with a Spawning Pool before Hatchery in order to stay safe against all-inning opponents. This build is standard because it gets 2 bases quickly, Metabolic Boost, and a Baneling Nest for safety or aggression.
- 9 – Overlord
- 15 – Spawning Pool
- 16 – Hatchery
- 16 – Extractor
- 15 – Overlord
- 17 – @100% Spawning Pool, start 1 Queen and 2 Zerglings
- @100 Gas, start Metabolic Boost and an Overlord
- @100% 1st Queen, start 2nd Queen
- @50 Gas, start Baneling Nest
- @50% Baneling Nest – 2 Zerglings, for Banelings
- @100% Baneling Nest – 2 Banelings
In the early stages of the game, all scouting comes from Overlord vision, so be sure that you send your initial 2 Overlords towards your opponent’s natural expansion. You can use your Overlord to compare his Hatchery’s HP to yours, to determine what kind of opener he used. If his hatchery is stronger than yours, he has gone hatchery first. Continue as normal. If his hatchery is the same HP as yours, he has VERY LIKELY done the same build as you. Continue as normal. If his hatchery is weaker to yours, he has gone for a gas and pool before hatchery in some order, meaning his speed is quicker than yours. Banelings before speed in this scenario is often advised, and likely make the Baneling nest in the main to not lose your Baneling tech to mass Zerglings with speed. An alternative is to not use your Gas, and get extra Queens and 2-3 Spine Crawlers. The main theme here is to not get Speed first, as his WILL be quicker. You need to find an edge that isn’t using Zergling Speed.
When playing versus any very early aggression (<10 pool), use your Drones to defend until you have your own Zerglings, a Queen, and potentially a Spine Crawler. Consider canceling the Hatchery for more minerals. Also use your initial overlord to scout when your opponent is taking their natural Hatchery. Feel free to apply some light pressure with your first Zerglings against a Hatch first build, but do not let it mess up your macro.
Make sure you have 2 to 4 Zerglings out on the map at all times. Send your initial 2 Zerglings to your opponent’s base to spot what they have at the front, and if possible get into the main with 1 Ling to see whether your hatching Drones or Zerglings from their eggs. Use the scouting intel that these pokes give you to determine whether you should get Banelings and extra Zerglings to defend yourself or pressure your opponent, or whether you should continue droning.
If your scout Zerglings see Drones hatching, and no wall at the front, you can choose to make Drones OR Zerglings to pressure. If you scout Zerglings, and no wall at the front, you should make the same amount of Zerglings. If you scout nothing hatching, and your Zerglings escape, send them back in to scout in 20~ seconds. If you scout nothing hatching, and your Zerglings die, remake the scout. Consider another 2 Zerglings for just-in-case Banelings. If you scout a wall, the Zerg is likely playing passive and you are likely safe.
As soon as you are sure you are safe, transition into your choice of tech.
You can use this opener to transition into any form of Zerg play. You could be safe as early as 6:00, or as late as 12:00! It depends on how aggressive your opponent is.
If you want to use Roaches quickly, grab a Roach Warren and Lair as soon as possible. Get Roach Speed and maybe Burrow, hit as soon as your Roach Speed finishes.
If you want a more macro Roach play, get a Roach Warren and at least 1 Evolution Chamber working. Get your Lair after starting your Evolution Chamber upgrades. You likely want to hit a +2 or +2/+2 timing with this!
If you want to use Mutalisks, get a Lair as soon as you can. You want to saturate your 2 bases and 4 gas as soon as possible, and get your 3rd as soon as you reach saturation. Make defensive Zerglings and Banelings to defend your 3rd, or to pressure his 3rd if you scout the opportunity. It is most important to get your Spire and 5/6th Gasses as soon as you can, and if he is going for Mutalisks too, your +1 flyer armor.
If he is being aggressive with Zergling Baneling, keep your Banelings in pairs. It takes 3 Banelings to blow up all surrounding Baneling Cocoons, 2 Banelings to blow up all surrounding Banelings or Drones, and 1 Baneling to blow up all surrounding Zerglings or Larvae.
It is always most important to keep your macro and injects up, especially with the potentially crazy ZvZ early game.
Pros and Cons
This build opens up with a 15 Spawning Pool to stay relatively safe against early pools, and gets a reasonably timed Metabolic Boost. Also, you get a Baneling Nest so that you can apply pressure or defend an opponent in the early midgame.
However, this build is a lot less economical than other Hatchery first builds. By getting the Spawning Pool before Hatchery, you will have a little less larvae than a Hatchery first build, so you must be wary about being outproduced by Zerglings in the early midgame.
This build works best on smaller maps, so that you can defend early pools and apply pressure to Hatchery first builds.
- Habitation Station