ZvZ VortiX’s 3 Base Speed Roach

General Overview

This build uses a fast +1 Carapace upgrade to secure a fast 3rd Base and deny opposing 3rds before it transitions into a swift +1/+1 Speed Roach timing and eventual +2/+1.

Build Order

  • 15 – Spawning Pool
  • 16 – Hatchery
  • 15 – Overlord
  • 15 – Extractor
  • 15 – Queen + 2 Lings
  • @100% Queen – 2nd Queen
  • @100 Gas, start Zergling Speed, Overlord
  • @50% Speed – 1 Evolution Chamber
  • @100% Evolution Chamber (@6:15ish), start +1 Carapace and 3rd Hatchery
  • @100 Gas – Lair, Roach Warren, go up to 4 Extractors
    • Strongly consider some Speedlings to deny the 3rd/protect your own 3rd
  • @100% Lair – Roach Speed
  • @100% +1 Carapace, start +1 Missile Attack
    • @100% +1 Missile Attack, start +2 Missile Attack
  • Flood Roach and Overlord production as soon as you are saturated on 3 mineral lines and 4 Extractors (@8:30), with 55+ Drones at home.

Note: If you prefer a Hatchery/Pool/Gas opening, that is similarly viable.


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.


This has best synergy with a Hydralisk transition, which is possible after taking gas numbers 5 and 6 at your third base, although you could flood earlier Speedlings with +1 Carapace. However, you have the option of simply researching +1 Melee upgrades to transition into upgraded Speedlings, which is excellent against Mutalisk openers, or even going for a delayed Spire.


If your opponent is also going for a Roach based composition, remember that Roach Battles are mostly determined by macro and concaves. The superior concave will allow a smaller force to defeat a larger one, for the most part – this is because more Roaches can fight in a larger concave, although you can also rush forward to allow the ones in the back to attack.

Against a Mutalisk based player, be sure to scout to see how many Mutalisks your opponent is making. If he is only making a few Mutalisks to dictate the pace of the game and force spores, you will probably be able to get away with only making Queens and Spores. If your opponent is heavily committing to Mutalisks, then consider incorporating Hydralisks and Infestors earlier than you normally would, in addition to the standard Queens and Spores. Spore Crawlers should also be placed to cover your Extractors, to ensure you do not fall behind tech wise. Do not be afraid to delay your Roach Timing if you are not sure how your opponent is going to play it out.

Against an upgraded Speedling force, delay your timing until you are maxed out. If your opponent invests very heavily into melee and carapace upgrades, they are almost certainly transitioning into an Ultralisk focused composition.

Pros and Cons

This build is a very flexible opener, which can combat greedier defensive play and also more aggressive play if your defensive micro is strong.

Because you are opening +1 Carapace Speedlings, taking and defending your third should relatively straightforward. Additionally, you have the opportunity of being reactive; the infrastructure you have at Lair level (+1 Carapace, Roach Warren, Metabolic Boost) allow you to choose between +1/+1 Speedlings, +1+1 Roaches, or even a slightly delayed Mutalisk transition.

However, this build by default will skip the Baneling nest in favor of faster upgrades and Lair Tech, so it is important to be on point with your scouting to avoid dying to enemy Baneling/Speedling aggression. If your scouting is poor, consider opening instead with the Safe Ling/Bling Opener, which will teach you what to look for and give you the tools to defend with.

Favorable Maps

More open maps that allow Roach concaves to rule.

Alterzim Stronghold and Frost LE are excellent examples of this.

Consider using a different opener on Daedalus Point, as it is difficult to survive one base aggression with such a macro oriented opener.


VortiX vs HyuN in Game 3 of their Fragbite Master series

VortiX’s 3 Base Speed Roach Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI



Written by Stark

Follow him @StarkSCII