Zerg vs. Zerg Timings

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[e][h]Zerg Zerg vs. Zerg - Timings
Strategy Information

In terms of timing and adaptations, Zerg vs Zerg is a very hard match-up.

Early Game[edit]

ZvZ early game is usually the most important, as scouting and reacting to your opponent is difficult. The build you choose will often be a gamble, as Overlords normally arrive at the opponent's base after you have decided on a build. Thus, it is important to factor in the rush distance of the map and to decide which build is most suitable to your style.


Unless you are playing on a two-player map, your Overlord will probably not reach your opponent's base until you have already decided on your build. Drone scouts are rarely used, as every Drone is critical in this low-econ match-up. As a general rule, you should send your Overlord to scout their natural first so that you will know whether they are going early pool or early hatchery; on a two-player map you will obviously send your overlord straight to their natural, and then to their main. On three- or four-player maps you will want to send your Overlord towards the closest spawn position where your Overlord will pass over their natural on a direct path to their main (maps like Python and Lost Temple are exceptions to this as you'll want to scout the closest main directly). You can extrapolate from when and where you see their Overlord as to where their main is; up until a bit after the two minute mark, whichever direction you see their Overlord coming from is where their base probably is (unless you don't see it, in which case they are scouting on a different path from you or are cross-spawn). If you are doing a risky build and want to conceal your position a bit longer, you can send your initial Overlord to scout cross-spawn to delay the time before their Overlord sees yours.

Scouting is still cruicial once you have found your opponent. You must keep an eye on what units your opponent makes. If he opts to make Drones, then you should make some Drones. If he makes Zerglings, then you need to make Zerglings to defend. Important things to note while your Overlord is in your opponent's base are the following:

  • Expansion - Did your opponent expand to his natural? If so, you should expand as well or add a second Hatchery at your base.
  • Drone/Larva count - This can help you figure out his opening build and what he's currently doing. Low Drone count and few Larvae means more offensive units, so be careful!
  • Zergling Speed - If your opponent has Zergling Speed and you don't, his Zerglings are much more mobile and effective.
  • Spire timing - Don't be caught off guard by his Mutalisks. If your Spire is much later than your opponent's, consider making Spore Colonies or harassing the opponent with Zerglings until your own Spire is up.


Adapting to the opponent's build in ZvZ is extremely difficult unless you scout first, since players usually decide on opening builds before scouting their opponents. Your best bet is to play a build you know well and play accordingly.

  • If you went 9 Pool
    • against 12 Hatch - Your Zerglings will be much faster, and this can be an instant win for you. Deal as much damage as possible.
    • against 12 Pool - His Zerglings may be a few seconds late, depending on the base distance, when you get to his base. If you opt for early Zergling Speed, use your earlier Speedlings to harass your opponent's Drones and buildings. If you opt for a fast Lair, force him to keep up Zergling production with you and go for a faster Spire.

  • If you went 12 Pool
    • against 9 Pool - His Zerglings will arrive around the time your Zerglings spawn, so defend as well as you can. If you defend the opponent's harass with minimal losses, you will be ahead.
    • against 12 Hatch - Your opponent will have two Hatcheries opposed to your one, so use your faster tech to your advantage.

  • If you went 12 Hatch
    • against 9 Pool - If you expanded to your natural, this can be an instant loss. If you built your second Hatch in base, plant a Creep Colony in your Mineral line when you see his Zerglings and morph it into a Sunken Colony as soon as possible. If you survive with minimal losses, use your two Hatcheries to your advantage.
    • against 12 Pool - Your opponent's Zerglings will likely arrive at the time yours spawn, but you should be able to easily defend.


Make sure that you do not fall behind your opponent in Zergling count. Try to make sure that you can get your Mutas out faster, and think about adding another Hatchery to spawn more Larvae faster than your opponent. (These decisions are all map-dependent.)


Use your Overlord to its fullest. Keep an eye on what your opponent is doing but be sure to move it away when you see some Mutas coming as every Overlord is important in ZvZ.


vs. faster Lair from opponent[edit]

If it is significantly faster than yours, you can throw down an Evolution Chamber a bit after they build a Spire so as to use Spore Colonies to defend, or you can go for a ling-all-in and try to bust them.

vs. more lings from opponent[edit]

If they have significantly more lings than you, you can throw down a Sunken to help defend while you pump lings. If necessary, pull some (but not too many) Drones to help defend - better to be behind than to lose.

vs. another Hatch added from opponent[edit]

You can either throw down a Hatchery of your own, or try to kill them with overwhelming forces.


The late-game starts after Muta/Ling numbers are stable, and one person has won air control. (ZvZ almost never reaches late-game.)


You see that your opponent is going Hive Tech, tossing up many Spores to deal with your overwhelming Muta count, etc.


Against fast Hive

  • Expand. Research Lurker Aspect to deal with Hydras? Upgrades?
  • One of the problems when dealing with Hive Tech is Dark Swarm. I recommend mixing in some Cracklings with your Mutalisks. You should have enough expansions everywhere that even if he uses Swarm to kill some of them, it won't hurt you TOO much. The idea of Muta/Ling vs. Hydra/Lurk micro is to kill the Lurkers with your Mutalisks while he's moving forward, and then deal with the Hydralisks normally.

Against mass Spore

  • Expand, out-Drone, and make sure to scout with your Mutas so that he doesn't take a hidden expansion.
  • An opponent who goes with mass Spore is totally immobile, because he can't deal with your Mutalisks. Just get plenty of expansions. Once you have enough Mutas, his Spore colonies are irrelevant, so at that point you can 1a2a3a. Be careful, though. You have to keep your Muta numbers up. If you build only Drones, your opponent might come out with an attack you can't defend against.