Muta/Ling/Bane (vs. Terran)
Muta/Ling/Bane is a mid-game and late-game strategy that involves using Mutalisks to harass and contain Terran while you take additional bases and build up a large army consisting of Mutalisks, Zerglings, and Banelings.
This army is good because it is extremely mobile and each part of the army covers the weaknesses of the rest of the army. Marines are the most cost-effective counter to Mutalisks, and so the Banelings are there to counter the large amounts of Marines that Terran will have to make; Zerglings and Mutalisks are good for cleaning up the reminds of a push after Banelings. In addition, Thors are very good against Mutalisks, and Siege Tanks are very good against Banelings. Therefore, there are also Zerglings present in order to deal with these counters.
The Mutalisk is the work-horse of this strategy as it has to:
- Harass the opposing economy.
- Spot and deal with drops
- And stay in large enough number to hold air control.
Muta/Ling/Bane is very powerful and is largely responsible for the shaping the current state of the ZvT/TvZ match-up to what it is today. In particular, Muta/Ling/Bane caused MMM to become largely obsolete in TvZ, and caused a shift towards the now-standard army of Marine and Siege Tank.
There are a few goals of using this strategy:
- Build up a large enough group of Mutalisks so that you can threaten a Terran expansion even if it has Missile Turrets present. Typically this is around 24-30 Mutalisks (enough to kill a Missile Turret in one shot, preventing repairing).
- This will force Terran to keep their army near his expansions in order to defend them.
- Contain Terran in your opponent's base through constant Mutalisk harassment so that you can safely take additional bases.
- Delay Terran's 3rd base by forcing money to be spent on Missile Turrets, and through Mutalisk containment.
- Use the high speed of Mutalisks and Zerglings to constantly threaten counter-attacks and backstab attacks.
- Get +2 air attack upgrades, and melee/carapace upgrades
- Safely get to hive on even economic footing with Terran and at least 3-4 bases
- Once you get to Hive, Brood Lords can benefit both from air upgrades and from melee/carapace upgrades (through Broodlings)
- Protect yourself from Medivac drops by using the speed and power of Mutalisks and Zerglings.
Basic Build Order
Any build or opening can work, as long as it lets you get 2 bases and lets you finish your Spire without dying.
Since this is a mid/late-game strategy, and since it can be transitioned into from any build, there is no specific build order. However the most common way of transitioning into this strategy is from 2 Base Muta.
- Always be ready to morph Banelings as soon as you see the Terran army move out via watchtowers and Zergling scouting. By waiting until you see aggression before morphing Banelings, you allow yourself to spend more resources on Mutalisks and upgrades.
- Since this strategy is very Larvae-intensive, place a macro Hatchery in-base when you saturate both of your mineral lines.
- As soon as your Mutalisks hatch, you should be looking to take your 3rd base. You will have time to saturate your 3rd base because Terran will be busy defending from your Mutalisks and building Missile Turrets.
Prioritize getting gas as soon as your 3rd base completes, since the goal is to build a large group of Mutalisks as fast as possible.
The biggest threat to this build is a large attack that is designed to kill you while your Spire is building, while you are saving up minerals and gas in order to make as many Mutalisks as you can when the Spire completes. During this time you will usually not have a big army, and if such an attack comes, you will be forced to spend your resources on making as many Zerglings and Banelings as you can with your resources, and waiting until after the attack has been defended before beginning production of Mutalisks.
Something else that needs to be scouted is if Terran is going for Mech play. If you scout this, you should stop making Mutalisks immediately and switch over to making a combination of Roaches and Infestors.
This strategy is particularly vulnerable to Hellions until your Spire completes, since you will only have Zerglings and Banelings, both of which are countered by Hellions, so you should always prepare for Hellions when doing this strategy.
As soon as your Mutalisks hatch, they should immediately go to the Terran base and attempt to kill any vulnerable SCVs. If there are Missile Turrets nearby, then instead you should try and kill any vulnerable buildings. Keep darting in and out of the Terran base, killing anything you can. By keeping the Marines inside the Terran base, you are free to make Drones for your 3rd base and start getting upgrades.
During a Marine/Tank push, your Mutalisks should fly around to the back of the push, in order to kill any reinforcements that come from the Terran base (this assumes that the push is between you and the Terran base. They should also always be looking to pick off stray Siege Tanks. Once you get enough Mutalisks to one-shot a Siege Tank, this should always be done in every engagement.
When attacking with your Muta/Ling/Bane army, never send the Mutalisks ahead of the Banelings. The Banelings should come in before the Mutalisks, so that the Marines are forced to retreat as the Mutalisks come in, and thus cannot shoot down the Mutalisks. Even a few seconds of Marine fire can destroy over half of your Mutalisks, so you must be careful when engaging.
Zerglings are in the army for a few reasons:
- During engagement:
- Additional damage and to surround Marines so they cannot run away from Banelings
- Absorb Siege Tank fire so that your Banelings do not die
- A good unit for excess minerals
- Respond quickly to drops
- Backstab/Counter-attacks/Expansion killing
Always try to flank with Zerglings from at least 2 different sides to reduce Siege Tank splash damage
Banelings are in the army for 1 reason only: to kill Marines. If there are Marines present, you should always try to kill them with Banelings. The only time they should detonate on Siege Tanks is when Marines are too far away (meaning all the Banelings will die without doing any damage if they try to pursue the Marines) and when there are multiple Siege Tanks within Baneling splash area.
Always move your Banelings, do not Attack-Move. Attack-moving Banelings will cause them to detonate on units other than Marines, which will almost always be cost-ineffective.
If you encounter Marine splitting with Banelings, you will need to select small groups of Banelings (usually 1-3) and send them off in the direction of the split Marines.
Once you have a group of Mutalisks and enough Zerglings and Banelings to hold off an attack, you should take a 4th base and get Hive. You should be constantly upgrading Air Attack and Melee/Carapace. Ideally you would get Hive after you have 4 bases established, and when you have +2 Air Attack, +2 Melee Attack, and +2 Carapace.
Once you have Hive you can transition to your late-game Strategy, such as Infestor/Corruptor/Brood Lord or just add in Brood Lords to your Muta/Ling/Bane army.
Another option after establishing your army but before getting Hive (or while getting Hive) is to add in some Infestors. Since you are massing up a large amount of Mutalisks, you will not have enough gas for a lot of Infestors. However adding in 2-3 Infestors for the sole purpose of casting Fungal Growth on Marines in a Marine/Tank army is extremely useful and can do a lot in saving your Banelings from dying to Siege Tank fire.
This strategy works well for any map, there are no features which specifically help this strategy.
Since this strategy works for any map, there are no bad map features for this strategy.
- Ret(Z) v ThorZaIN(T) on Metalopolis - 2011 European Battle.Net Invitational, Finals Game 1 - a clinic on how to play this style against Terran. Ret goes for a very quick Spire, skipping the Baneling Nest and Evolution Chamber in favor of a faster Lair and Drones, using his Queens, a few Zerglings, and 2 Spine Crawlers to defend.
- Ret(Z) v ThorZaIN(T) on Backwater Gulch - 2011 European Battle.Net Invitational, Finals Game 2 - Ret again goes for the same build, only defending with 3 Queens, 8 Zerglings, and 2 Spine Crawlers until his Spire completes. After handily defeating one attack on his 3rd, Ret's Mutas contain ThorZaIN in your opponent's base for the rest of the game.