7 Pool (vs. Terran)
7 Pool is a highly aggressive and specialized Zerg build order, and is the most modern Zerg rush build. Unlike a 4/5 Pool where the Zerg will often use an Extractor trick into an intentional supply block to go all-in with an early swell of Zerglings, the 7 Pooling player morphs an early Overlord as a provision for transitioning into macro play should the rush fail to finish off the Terran.
A 7 Pool was first exhibited at the professional level by Soulkey versus Light in the KSL Group Stage on Roadkill. Although Soulkey eventually lost the game, 7 Pool builds have since seen popularity on the Korean ladder as a surprise weapon.
- 7 - Spawning Pool
- 6 - Drone
- 7 - Overlord
- 7 - Drone; send Drone scout
- @100% Spawning Pool: 6 Zerglings
- 11 - 2 Zerglings (see note)
- 12 - Hatchery
- 14 - Extractor
Build Order Clarification
Depending on the map, a drone scout may not be necessary. With the listed scout timing, the drone scout should arrive at nearly the same time as the drone scout from a traditional 12 Hatchery build to avoid arousing suspicion.
Producing only 6 Zerglings, or hiding the extra 2 Zerglings/sending them on a longer path to the opponent's base to avoid the scouting SCV is necessary on some maps. In Soulkey's pioneering 7 Pool game versus Light, the initial 6 Zerglings avoided the SCV as planned, but the 2 Zerglings which hatched later were not able to leave the vicinity of Soulkey's natural quickly enough to avoid being seen by Light's SCV, revealing the rush and giving Light ample time to defend despite the Zerglings being seconds away from Light's ramp.
In the event that the first 6-8 Zerglings are allowed to infiltrate the Terran main base and control the barracks and/or ramp, the Zerg player generally continues to rally Zerglings in an attempt to end the game. The early Overlord leaves the Zerg with a supply cap of 17, allowing the Zerg player to continuously use all their Larva for reinforcements, and mass up a considerably larger Zergling force than is possible with a 4/5 Pool. If the initial attack is blocked completely or very little damage is dealt to the Terran economy, Zerg is at a substantial disadvantage. It is therefore advised to switch from Zergling to Drone production, build an Extractor, and tech to Lair. From here, builds often transpose into 2 Hatch Muta or 2 Hatch Lurker, both with the intention of regaining map control and securing a third base.
- Zergling-tight walls
The 7 Pool can be viewed as an analogue to a 5 Pool in the ZvP matchup; an early rush which, while risky, can transition into a macro game if enough damage is dealt to the opponent's economy, or in other words, a "Macro Rush." This is in contrast with the 4 Pool, which is decidedly more all-in, and the 9 Pool, a more economical pool first build which is generally used either as a safety build against a proxy barracks or as a precursor to a later Speedling all-in. Due to its superior economy, flexibility, and often inconsequential difference in Zergling timing compared to a 5 Pool, the 7 Pool has slowly begun to replace the 5 Pool's niche use as a Macro Rush against Terran.
The decision to 7 Pool should only be made after studying the common scouting times and paths for Terran on the chosen map. The success of the initial rush depends heavily on the Terran not scouting the rush for as long as possible to prevent them from preparing a defense. In addition, due to the relatively late timing of the Spawning Pool compared to, for instance, a 4 Pool, the Zerglings are much more likely to be spotted by a standard SCV scout timing. For comparison, a 4 Pool will hatch 6 Zerglings at ~1:48, a 5 Pool will hatch them at ~1:55, a 7 Pool at ~2:06, and a 9 pool at ~2:15. Whereas a 9 Pool's Zerglings will often be seen by the SCV scout, and a 4 Pool's will be out early enough to avoid the SCV scout by a safe margin, the Zerglings of a 7 Pool must be quickly maneuvered outside of the vision path of the common SCV scouting routes to be successful.