3 Hatch Lurker (vs. Terran)

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[e][h]Zerg 3 Hatch Lurker
Strategy Information
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The "3 Hatchery Lurker" Build Order prepares a mid game transition with Lurkers and speed Zerglings to counter early Terran aggression. The strategy was primarily used in the older days of Brood War, when Marine micromanagement wasn't as developed as today. However, the strategy is still a viable option in the modern game.

Build Orders[edit]

The following Build Order uses a 12 Hatchery Expand Opening and requires a second gas at the Natural

"3 Hatch Lurker"
  • 9 - Overlord[1]
  • 12 - Hatchery at Natural Expansion
  • 11-13 - Spawning Pool[2]
  • 13 - Hatchery
  • @100% Spawning Pool - 2-6 Zerglings
  • 16 - Overlord
  • 16 - Extractor
  • @100 Gas - Lair[3]
  • 22 - Overlord[4]
  • @100 Vespene Gas - Zergling Speed
  • @60% Lair - Hydralisk Den[5]
  • @90% Lair - Expansion Extractor
  • @100% Lair - Lurker Aspect
  • @100% Lair - Evolution Chamber[6][7]
  • @50% of Lurker research - 6-9 Hydralisks
  • @100% of Lurker research - Lurkers[8]
  • @100% Evolution Chamber - +1 Carapace Upgrade
  1. Optional: 9th Drone can be used to scout
  2. Spawning Pool can be built later at 12 or 13 supply for better economy but the Zerg is more vulnerable to rushes
  3. Sunken Colonies can be added from now on, depending on the overall situation
  4. Overlord can be built later, between 22 and 24 Supply
  5. Hydralisk Den will complete at the same time as the Lair to research Lurkers the fastest
  6. Built after Aspect is researched
  7. Optional: Spire can be added
  8. Left over Minerals are spent on Zerglings
The following build order is meant to deceive the opponent into making turrets as a potential advantage the Spire creates."

"Fake 3 Hatch Muta into Lurker"
  • 9 - Overlord[1]
  • 12 - Hatchery at Natural Expansion
  • 11-13 - Spawning Pool
  • 13 - Hatchery
  • @100% Spawning Pool - 2-6 Zerglings
  • 15 - Extractor
  • 16 - Overlord
  • @100 Gas - Lair
  • @100 Gas - Research Zergling Speed
  • 23 - Extractor
  • 24 - Overlord
  • @100% Lair - Hydralisk Den, Spire [2]
  • 35 - 3 Overlords [3]
  • @Spire 400 HP - Research Lurker Aspect
  • 100% Spire - 7 Hydras [4]
  • 40ish - Hatchery at 3rd
  • 43ish - Evolution Chamber, start making Zerglings [5]
  • 100% Lurker Aspect - 7 Lurkers
  • 100% Evolution Chamber - +1 Carapace
  • 54ish - Queen's Nes
  1. Optional: 9th Drone can be used to scout
  2. The Hydralisk Den is made when the Terran's scouting SCV can't see it and later than the normal Hydralisk Den timing.
  3. Make 3 Overlords when supply is maxed. When morphed, move them to the corner of the base to appear as if they're being used for Mutalisk stacking. Send 1 drone to the third.
  4. out the 3 overlords for scouting afterwards and send 3 Hydras to the ramp of the third base
  5. Power Drones until Hydralisks are done, and then produce 2 control groups of Zerglings.
The build order emphasizes use of fast upgrades for a stronger midgame army."

"3 Hatch Lurker w/ Fast Upgrades"
  • 9 - Overlord[1]
  • 12 - Hatchery at Natural Expansion
  • 11-13 - Spawning Pool
  • 13 - Hatchery
  • @100% Spawning Pool - 2-6 Zerglings
  • 12 - Extractor
  • 16 - Overlord
  • @100 gas - Upgrade to Lair
  • @50 gas (18/18) - Evolution Chamber
  • @100% Evolution Chamber - Research Carapace
  • 24 - Overlord
  • 25 - Extractor at natural (after Carapace upgrade starts)
  • 24 - Hydra Den (after Extractor starts)
  • 35 - 3 Overlords
  • @100% Hydra Den - Research Lurker Aspect
  • @100 gas - Research Zergling Speed
  • @75% Lurker Aspect - Make 6 Hydralisks
  • @100% Lurker Aspect - Make Lurkers
  • 47ish - Expand to a 3rd base
  • 55ish - Expand to a 4th base
  • 60ish - Make Queens Nest and Spire and second Evolution Chamber[2]
  1. Optional: 9th Drone can be used to scout
  2. Powa Drones until Hydralisks are done, and then produce 2 control groups of Zerglings.


The Zerg opens for a Lair relatively early, after adding a third Hatchery in his own base. The first six Zerglings are used to constantly maintain vision on the opponent's army movement, compilation and size. Sunken Colonies are not being built, unless an early timing attack is scouted.

In the primary steps, the first Lurkers push back the marines, performing surrounds and flanks with Zerglings given the opportunity. While Terran is pushed back, the Zerg should establish their third hatchery. Not losing the first Lurkers against a small number of Marines is pivotal. Alternatively, in a more passive approach, hydras can be morphed on the ramp of a third base to quickly establish a base. However, the Zerg risks losing Hydras if Terran moves out with their first group of Marines and Medics anticipating the Lurkers and fast expansion.

During engagements, the Zerg must take caution to not let the Zerglings pursue kiting marines without the support of Lurkers. The Lurkers advance forward to distance Terran away from their own base to delay a tank push. Due to the immobility of Lurkers, having forward positions is incredibly difficult against a kiting Terran unless there are enough accompanying Zerglings to push. Zerg can discreetly burrow stop Lurkers in enemy territory and can covertly move across the map, outrunning stimmed marines. Commonly Zerg is restrained to their nearby bases.

In the case Zerg has a sufficient number of Zerglings for an aggressive attack, Terran can be forced to defend at their home, creating several bunkers. The greater power in direct engagements than Mutalisks and Zerglings poses a greater threat of direct frontal attacks and backstabs.


In the midgame, the Terran has a faster factory from lack of turrets and a faster tank push due to the poor delaying ability of Lurkers compared to Mutalisks. To compensate, the Zerg commonly relies on a fast Hive for Defilers and Sunken Colonies. In the case of an extremely fast tank push, Zerg will be forced to engage with its army, provided that the Terran sacrificed marine and medic numbers to do so.

Zerg can also opt for a mass lair unit style, getting a late hive for more hatcheries. Zerg takes on larger map control throughout the game, has slightly more drones due to a higher hatchery count, and more units. Fast upgrades are common with the style to compliment the large number of lair units. Terran responses include getting two factories for mass siege tanks and delaying the push to accrue a larger army.


3 Hatch Lurker is more passive and economic focused than 3 Hatch Mutalisk, establishing the third easily as the primary goal. The 3 Hatch Lurker build is efficient versus marine heavy builds designed to abuse the Mutalisk midgame before Lurkers are out, such as +1 5 Rax. The impenetrable defense of static Lurkers allows droning and fast teching. The Zerg should be wary of Terran making fast Dropships to exploit the perceived lack of a Spire.

Notable Maps[edit]

The Three Hatchery Lurker Opening works on most maps. However, maps with narrow centers make Zergling/Lurker attacks easier to counter. Maps with difficult pathing (Blue Storm) and multiple access points to a Terran's Natural Expansion (Gaia, Snipers Ridge) support the strategy. Wide open central spaces like on Python or Fighting Spirit make it easier to surround Terran armies.

Notable Games[edit]

Strategy Example Game
Detonation South Korea  JulyZerg JulyZerg First Person View
South Korea  ArtOfTerran
Date: 2004-02-22
Patch: 1.10 VOD