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Breaking Lurker Contain

From Liquipedia StarCraft Brood War Wiki
[e][h]ProtossBreaking Lurker Contain
Technique Information
Mid-game Strategy


In Protoss vs. Zerg, Lurker contains involve using Lurkers to create a defensive line outside the Protoss base, giving the Zerg total map control. While the Protoss is contained, the Zerg usually aims to expand (possibly multiple times) and build up an insurmountable lead. Of course, the strategy's effectiveness depends on the Protoss's inability to circumvent the contain by getting out of their base through another way. This article will mostly deal with breaking out of Lurker contains from the Protoss perspective. It also assumes that the Protoss fast expanded, because it is the most popular opening on the most current maps.

Unit Combinations[edit]

There are a number of unit variations that the Zerg can use.

Lurker, Zergling, Hydralisk, Overlord[edit]

Zergling/Lurker build[edit]

This contain relies upon a concave spread of Lurkers with Speedlings behind them. The purpose of this combination is to use the Speedlings as a wall protecting the Lurkers. The Speedlings impede the Zealots and Dragoons from engaging the Lurkers while the Lurkers deal damage to the Protoss army. Furthermore, Hydralisks with Overlords can be used to snipe Observers.

Protoss responses[edit]

A player who opens standard Protoss fast expand into Dark Templars and Corsairs can attempt to kill the Overlords with Corsairs and use Dark Templars to kill the Lurkers. However fast Speed Overlords and some Hydralisks can often prevent this from working.

A combination of Dragoons and High Templar Psionic Storms can grind away at this contain effectively. One Psi Storm and one Dragoon shot kills a Lurker and Dragoons are cost-effective against Lurkers when no other units are involved. Initiate by using Dragoons to attack the Lurkers, and when Speedlings and/or Hydralisks run in to kill and stall the Dragoons, plant a Psi Storm between the incoming Zerg units and the Dragoons while retreating the Dragoons. Repeat until the Zerg contain is out of supporting units. Use Observers to check the strength of the contain.

Reavers are very good against this contain because Reavers in Shuttles can kill the Lurkers safely and Reaver splash is also effective against Zerglings.

Lurker, Scourge, Overlord[edit]

Zerg build[edit]

This is often a transition from a Mutalisk opening, although often Zergs will open with Lurkers and also tech to Spire just for Scourge. The Lurkers will form a concave and are usually supported by Scourge, Overlords, and a minimal ground force. This allows the Zerg to set up multiple bases and build lots of Drones in the meantime.

Protoss responses[edit]

The effectiveness of Corsairs and Dark Templars depends on the game. If the Zerg has kept Corsair numbers low with Scourge, then this is unlikely to be effective. However, if the Zerg opened with Mutalisks and there are many Corsairs left over, then this can be effective. The number of Corsairs required before engaging depends on how many Mutalisks and Scourge the Zerg has, but the minimum number advised is four. Start attacking the Scourge, immediately retreat the front Corsair, and the Scourge will get confused and die. Make sure to clean up the Lurkers with Dark Templars as soon as the Scourge and Overlords are cleared, since the Zerg can respond with Hydralisks and maintain the contain.

Reaver responses here are very slow because two Robotics Facilities are needed to make enough Reavers and Shuttles. Observers must also be constantly replaced since they cannot be well defended from Scourge. The Reaver is also more vulnerable since the Shuttle is also vulnerable to Scourge. Reavers can be effective, provided there is sufficient air support, but are usually not recommended since they take too long to break the contain.

Dragoons and Psionic Storm is again the standard response. It is advisable to keep an Archon directly underneath the Observer to protect it. Observer Speed is also a very useful upgrade for escaping from Scourge. Constantly make Observers and try to break out as soon as possible. It is nearly impossible to protect every Observer, but pushing out with Dragoons and three Observers with two Observers further back in reserve will make it extremely difficult for the Zerg to stop.

Lurkling rush[edit]

Zerg build[edit]

This doesn't really qualify as a contain because the object is not to contain but to kill (or at least cripple) the Protoss. This is usually a low Drone-count Two Base Three Hatchery build that falls back into a contain if the attack fails.

Protoss response[edit]

Assuming that the Zerg build was scouted, build a lot of Cannons to deflect the attack. Instead of a Templar Archive, tech to Reavers as soon as possible. Make a Corsair to scout whether the Zerg is making more units or switched to Drones and taking a third base. Add cannons as necessary. Keep the Corsair alive for scouting purposes. Be wary of Speed Overlords and low Drone count, since drops are a popular transition. Use the Reaver to clear the contain while transitioning into a standard Zealot, Templar, and Archon army. If possible, expand to an island. This should put the Zerg at a huge economic disadvantage at this point.



The Zerg will often try to abuse map control as much as possible by expanding multiple times and pumping Drones. Assuming that the Protoss does break out, then optimally it will have taken long enough that the Zerg will have four or five bases set up and Hive tech ready. By this point the Zerg should be able to run over the Protoss with his superior economy.

However, the Zerg may choose to reinforce the contain at the cost of developing his economy. In some case, the Zerg may strengthen and reinforce the contain long enough that the Protoss mines out and runs out of resources.


The Zerg is usually weakest right when the contain is broken, and the Protoss should attack then, usually the lightly defended expansions. Furthermore, while Dragoons are effective against Lurkers, they are not as cost effective against everything else. It is important to transition into a more standard Zealot and Templar Tech late game army.