5 Pool (vs. Terran)

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[e][h]Zerg 5 Pool
Strategy Information
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The 5 pool is an all in Zerg cheese build. Known for its ability to surprise and overwhelm a Terran opponent early on, it can win the game within a few minutes. However, if this strategy fails to cause significant damage early on, the Terran player will generally have a massive economic advantage.

Against Terran opponents on most maps, a 4 Pool is generally preferred to a 5 Pool due to the relatively high strength of SCVs. For three reasons:

  • The 4 Pool is slightly faster (by about 4-12 seconds, see 4 Pool)
  • You are able produce 10 Zerglings with your initial supply
  • If this rush fails against Terran, you can hardly recover, thus the number of workers you have doesn't matter.


On a 2 player map, it is usually not necessary to scout outside of the initial overlord. But it is for this reason that 4/5 Pool is a little weaker on such maps due to the ability of Terran to scout more quickly. On 4 player maps, send your initial overlord towards one base, and as you make your initial Zerglings, send a Drone to the other adjacent base. If the Terran appears at neither, then all that is left is to send your newly hatched Zerglings to the unscouted base. On 3 player maps, the Drone is not necessary.

Build Order[edit]

  • 4 - Drone (at the beginning)
  • 5 - Spawning Pool
  • Drone until 6
  • Make Lings with the larvae you've been saving
  • Make Extractor when lings are at 80%
  • Build a Drone / cancel Extractor
  • Overlord
  • Usually from here on all Larva are dedicated to Zergling production, with excess minerals being banked until 300 for another Hatchery.

Build Order Clarification[edit]

Extractor Trick[edit]

After your first 6 Lings hatch you have a choice. If you feel confident in your rush, you can use the Gas Trick to quickly reinforce your initial Lings with an extra two.

If you feel like continuing your economy right away, either save up and create an Overlord immediately, or use the Gas Trick to get an extra Drone before the Overlord.


Against Terran, the mentality is to not allow Terran to erect a Bunker near his Command Center. Because your Zerglings arrive before a normal 11 Rax has completed let alone any Marines, it is often advantageous to find out that the Terran has walled. Not only will he quickly lose a Supply Depot, but he will also have a difficult time walking his Marine into a completed Bunker or even into SCV protection. The idea is to not allow any Marines to stay alive and to slowly pick off SCVs and prevent them from mining. If Terran chooses only to pull a portion of his SCVs, then pick at the ones that are mining.

Countered By[edit]

  • 8 Barracks (8 Rax) given that Terran scouts the build

Hard Counters[edit]

(do not work on smaller maps like Blood Bath )

  • 9 Barracks + Bunker
  • 10 Barracks with good micromanagement

Soft Counters[edit]

  • 11 Barracks with good micromanagement

Counter To[edit]

Hard Counters[edit]

Soft Counters[edit]

Notable Maps[edit]


Maps with a short distance between bases, for example:


Maps with a longer distance between bases or a large number of starting positions, for example:


Unlike other builds, 5 Pool does not favor a transition because it aims to end the game right then and there. If Terran has managed to complete a Bunker protecting his Command Center and has Marines inside of it, you have two options: to break it or make drones and recover economically. Which one you choose will depend on how confident you are against the player you are facing as well as the amount of SCVs you killed. Generally, if you were not able to reduce Terran to 6 or less SCVs, you are still behind economically even if you try to recover. If you choose to recover economically, but Terran still has a significant number of SCVs, a good follow up is 1 Hatch Lurker, which just follows up your terrible economic build with another last ditch low economy build. The other option is to quietly mass Zerglings and surround the Bunker, killing it, and securing a victory. This has to be done quickly, as Time is not on your side. Versus a quick Factory build, it is even more necessary to end the game quickly because the arrival of a Vulture spells out death.

Notable Games[edit]



  • fantasy vs. Jaedong on Holy World. In the 3rd game of their Bo5 series, Jaedong fails the initial attack, but proceeds to execute a beautiful surround on the completed Bunker