3 Hatch Muta (vs. Terran)

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{{Ambox |text=This strategy page might be out of date. It was last reviewed 1510 days ago, on 2020-01-04 by Ty2.

[e][h]Zerg3 Hatch Muta
Harass stalling until Lurkers come into play.
Strategy Information
Popularized by:

Popularized by sAviOr, 3 Hatch Muta is the most popular early to midgame Zerg vs. Terran build. 3 Hatch Muta has a strong economy and versatility in drone and ling production. Using Mutalisks, Zerg harasses Terran's mineral line, contests medic and marine armies, or both, while getting a 3rd base and Lurkers. 3 Hatch Muta has various transitions, the most common being 3 Base Hive.

3 Hatch Muta
  • 9 - Overlord
  • 12 - Hatchery @ expansion
  • 11-13 - Spawning Pool [1]
  • 13-14 - Hatchery
  • 12-14 - Extractor [2]
  • @100% Spawning Pool - 2 Zerglings [3]
  • 16 - Overlord
  • @100 Gas: - Lair
  • 21-23 - Extractor [4]
  • @Next 100 Gas - Zergling Speed
  • @100% Lair - Spire [5]
  • 24 - Overlord
  • 25..27 - Drones
  • 28..33 Zerglings
  • 33 - Expansion or Sunken Colonies to adapt to the Terran builds
  • @50% Spire - 3 Overlords
  • Save Larvae [6]
  • @60% Spire - Send drone to expand to third [7]
  • 33ish - 9 Mutalisks
  • @Next 200 Gas:
    • 2 more Mutalisks
    • 1 Overlord


  1. The Spawning Pool can be delayed up to 13 supply for a better economy. However, a 13 supply pool is more susceptible to 8 Barracks bunker rushes than an 11 or 12 pool.
  2. The Extractor is usually, but not always made after placing the Hatchery with no drones made in between. Common build patterns include: 14 hatch, 13 gas for more minerals, or 13 hatch, 12 gas for faster muta timing, and, if 11 pooling, 13 hatch, 14 gas, to compensate for low economy by delaying tech.
  3. Zerglings are delayed as much as possible to prioritize drones. The first pair of Zerglings are made between 14-15 supply, and the second pair is made at 17 supply, or after 18. If spawning cross distances, or on a long rush distance map, make two pairs of Zerglings at 16 supply. The first two Zerglings are used to kill the scouting SCV, defending initial Marines, and scouting. To play safe, send a Zergling immediately to the front of Terran's base to check for an early marine moveout and possible SCV all-in.
  4. The 2nd Extractor can be built at 23 supply immediately after researching Zergling speed for more minerals, or when bank is at 50 gas after getting Lair, for more gas.
  5. The Spire should be placed between 4:48-4:52, depending on the opening build.
  6. Stop making units from your Hatcheries when the Spire has reached 300/600 HP and the Hatchery only has 1 Larva available. You should have 9 Larvae, 33ish/59 Control and at least 900 Minerals and Gas when the Spire finishes.
  7. The third base Hatchery.
  8. From here, the build can diverge into many late game variants with 3 Base Hive with Lurkers and Defilers being the most common.
3 Base Hive Lurker Defiler
  • @Next 50 Gas - Hydralisk Den [1]
  • @Next 100 Gas - Queens Nest
  • @200 gas - Lurker Aspect
  • @100% Queens Nest - Hive
  1. Rallying hydras to morph Lurker eggs at the ramp of the main base is critical to block marine medic pushes. Hydras can be made with the first two larvae made at the natural after the 10th and 11th Mutalisks, and Overlord is made, or, after Zerglings are produced after the 10th and 11th Mutalisks.


Three Hatch Muta (vs. Terran) is a build order meant to give you early map control. This is typically used to take a third base (with gas to support Hive tech) and to transition to Hive (mainly for defilers).

Note: A common misconception amongst newer players is that 3 Hatch Muta is a build meant to kill or severely cripple the Terran player with Mutalisks. While this may work occasionally, at higher skill levels it will rarely be possible to kill the Terran with your Mutalisks alone. The main purpose of your initial Mutalisks is to harrass the Terran and keep his army inside of his base, yielding you map control.

Against Mech[edit]

Against a meching terran, 3 hatch muta is arguably the best opening. The reason is because Mutalisks scout, harass, and force Terran to defend. Against mech, your main priority is to build up your econ and take as little damage as possible. Therefore, the main role of mutalisks is to scout and to gain that map control. You need to see his type of tech paths. This will be critical for you because if he decides that he was faking his mech, your mutalisks will still be strong against bio and you can prepare appropriately.

Adapting to Terran Builds[edit]

In the early game determine the opponent's build to adapt accordingly. Responses vary depending on whether Terran opens Factory Expand or 1 Rax FE, or any other uncommon 1 base play.

The following are responses to various 1 Rax FE transitions:

  • +1 5-Rax- The most popular Terran build, +1 5-Rax aims to delay the third base and force Zerg to make several lings in the midgame until Lurkers are out. Zerg has mainly two options: stay on 2 bases and make 5 or more sunkens for defense to focus on Mutalisk harass and expand only until Lurkers are finished. The other more common option is to defend the third base with Mutalisks and Zerglings until Lurkers finish.

In the early game Zerg can tell if Terran is going +1 5-rax by Terran having only 9 or so marines and only 1 medic by the time Spire is placed. If Terran makes a bunker, it's even more unlikely Terran went a 2 Rax build. Later, after Mutalisks are out, Terran will have +1 weapons completed and roughly 16 marines and 3-4 medics. The threat of speed Zerglings alone is enough to deter Terran from pushing. On occassion, Terran will push out, and in that case a minimum of 1, and at most 2 sunkens is necessary.

Zerg must prevent Terran's marine medic ball from reaching a critical mass, otherwise harass will be difficult. If Terran is defensive, prompt a move-out by harassing SCVs. Zerg should whittle down Marine numbers gradually before trying to commit a Mutalisk and Zergling attack on an isolated ball of Marines and Medics. Constantly put Mutalisks between the outgoing Marine Medic army and the Terran's base to delay Terran and catch reinforcements. Preventing Terran from reinforcing the first marine medic ball with a second is critical to dealing with +1 5-Rax.

Zerg can make up to 24 Zerglings and 3-5 sunkens at most. Zerg can make 3 more Mutalisks at most after the first 11.

  • 2 or 3 Rax - Seeing 2 or 3 Rax means that the Terran player is going for a standard 9 Minute push. If the Terran only has 2 Rax, then you likely scouted him early and he will add on a 3rd Rax to do a standard timing push. Only 3-4 Sunkens are necessary to defend against any push by Terran before Mutas.

Terran will have 10 or more marines by the time Spire is placed down, and usually has no bunker.

Variation: Crazy Zerg[edit]

Crazy Zerg is a less common variant of 3 Hatch Muta that was popularized by Kwanro, Luxury, and YellOw[ArnC]. Crazy Zerg transitions directly from Mutas into Hive and Ultralisks without Lurkers.

The build differs from standard 3 Hatch Muta from the gas timing:

  • 12 - Hatchery @ Expansion
  • 11 - Spawning Pool
  • 13 - Hatchery @ Expansion.
  • @100% Spawning Pool - 2 Zerglings
  • 15 - Extractor
  • 16 - Overlord
  • @100 Gas - Lair, Evolution chamber and Expansion Extractor.

The first Evolution Chamber is built immediately after the Lair is started, followed by an immediate +1 Carapace Upgrade. Zergling Speed is researched during the Mutalisk harass, and a large Muta/Ling force is used to kill Marine/Medic armies of less than 24 units. The high mobility, early 2nd Expansion and early Carapace make Tank/Vessel pushes a liability for the Terran player. Instead, he will most likely opt for a Vessel oriented style of play which you should defend with Sunken colonies and your Muta/Ling army until Defilers and Ultralisks come into play. This build gets a 3rd Expansion in relatively the same time as a standard 3 Hatch Muta build but with an earlier hive and upgrades. The second Evolution Chamber should be built shortly after hive is started because having an Upgrade advantage is very important for this playstyle.

The fast +4 Armor Ultralisk and Zergling force is extremely effective against Marine/Medic until the Terran can catch up in upgrades. This build is especially weak against large amounts of Marine/Medic during mid-game; the lack of Lurkers and relatively small amount of killing power makes map control hard to obtain, especially if the Mutaling flank of the Terran push or the backstab at the Natural fails.

In summary, this build is highly map-dependant. It relies on large, open spaces which facilitate a more mobile army. It also requires an early second Expansion to support quick Upgrades and Hive Timing as well as a strong Drone count, comparable to that of a normal 3 Hatch Muta build.

Countered By[edit]

Hard Counters[edit]

  • Early vulture harass will either force a change on gas timing or a change from a Mutalisk opening to a Hydra opening.
  • FireBatHero 7 Barracks
  • Ayumi Build

Soft Counters[edit]

Counter To[edit]

Hard Counters[edit]

  • 1 Base fast Dropship or Tank push
  • 2 Barracks, Academy, Expansion

Soft Counters[edit]

  • 2 Barracks Expansion.

Notable Maps[edit]



  • Gaema Gowon
  • Blue Storm - (2 hatch is much more effective due to the inability to easily defend/camp 4 gas)


English commentated FPVODs[edit]