Reacting to Cannon Rushes
This is a guide on how to react to heavily committed Cannon rushes. If a Protoss is throwing up 3-5 Photon Cannons at your natural, that means they are making a huge investment into killing and denying your natural base. Depending on the map, the Protoss will put a Gateway on the high ground for vision.
- Do not 1 base Nydus all-in
- Do not Roach-Ling all-in
How to react
As soon as the Cannon Rush is successful, meaning all the Cannons are up and you have no chance of saving your natural, you need to take double gas, and get a Roach Warren. Once your Roach Warren is finished, you should make about 6-8 Roaches. You want to take Drones off of gas, and go with your Roaches, Zerglings, and Queens down the ramp and kill the Cannons.
After the Cannon Rush is finished
After you deal with the Cannons, you want to send your Roaches across the map, so the Protoss is forced to make more Cannons, as he should have little to no units due to the amount he committed to the Cannon Rush. You want to take your third base and drone up to a good amount.
The Protoss will most likely follow up with an all-in to capitalize on the amount he set back the Zerg. If he is all-ining, then you will want to make Roach-Ling, and eventually include some Hydralisks into your composition. Spread and engage normally like you would against any all-in. Spine Crawlers can also help to zone units; if you have the time you may include a few (three is a good number). If your opponent is playing Robotics into third, then a Mutalisk follow-up is a good choice. If not, then you just want to play a standard style and react accordingly.
Cannon Rush Variant
There are two variants of Cannon Rushing: Committing (in this example), or not committing a lot (anything more than 1 or 2 cannons is a heavy investment). If your opponent is doing the not heavily committing type, then you will want to take your second base at your third base location, drone up, get gas, go Roaches to kill the Cannons, and re-take your natural.