5 Roach Rush (vs. Terran)
This build threatens the Terran wall-in with five early Roaches supported by Speedlings before transitioning into an expansion. Due to the early Queen and the expansion, this build retains a reasonable economy should the rush fail and is therefore not all-in.
This build denies scouting with an early pair of Zerglings, then quickly techs to Roaches and Metabolic Boost. The Roaches are used to break the Terran wall-in, after which Speedlings will stream in to either end the game or deal economic damage before transitioning to mid-game.
Basic Build Order
- The Roach Warren should be hidden as well as possible. The first two Zerglings have plenty of time to drive away any scouting SCVs.
- Missing Inject Larva will significantly compromise the effectiveness of this build.
- Drones should be pulled off gas once there is enough gas for the 5 Roaches.
- Zergling production (with Overlords as necessary) should be continued after the expansion until the attack is no longer effective.
A drone scout is unnecessary due to the first pair of Zerglings spawning early enough to locate the Terran base. Identifying the Terran's strategy can be accomplished while attacking (see "Adaptation").
The Roaches should move up the ramp and prioritize the following:
- SCVs which are repairing.
- Supply Depots wall-ing the ramp. The wall-in must be broken as quickly as possible so that the Speedlings can do damage.
- Hellions. Hellions wreak havoc on Zerglings with their splash damage, so they must be taken down immediately by the Roaches.
- Marines. Two Marines have higher DPS and less hit points than a Marauder, and so should be killed first.
- Marauders. Marauders deal significant damage to Roaches, and their high hit points makes sniping them impractical. Roaches should avoid Marauders while Speedlings maneuver to surround them.
Zerglings should be rallied to the Terran base to overwhelm the enemy in conjunction with the Roaches. If this build is executed successfully, reinforcing Speedlings should catch up with the Roaches in time to support them, but should be held back until the wall is broken due to their fragility.
If it is working, keep pumping Zerglings for the win.
If the Terran is holding off the rush, move your Zerglings into his mineral line and kill as many SCVs as possible while droning at home.
The beauty of this strategy is that every Terran will respond to your initial Rush by making Marauders. You will never make more than 5 Roaches and the Zerglings will pretty much counter the Marauders the Terran just made.
If the Terran is Bunkering up you maybe want to avoid the Bunker and go for the Production or Minerals (depending on where the Bunker is) until you have enough Lings.
If the Terran expects it or is preparing for an early push himself he can hold off your Rush before you break the wall. In that case, use your scouting information to decide how to proceed. Instead of Zerglings, make Drones with your next Larva pop.
- If you see an early Reactor Factory it is a good idea to Produce a few Roaches and 1 or 2 Spine Crawlers to fend off Hellions.
- If you see a Tech Lab Factory it is either Blue Flame Hellions or Tanks (usually followed by a fast Expansion). Build a Crawler if you expect Hellions and get Drones going.
- If you see Multiple Barracks prepare for a Marauder Counter Push. Get enough Lings out and keep tabs on your opponent.
You have 2 Bases and at least 17 Drones when your push is repelled (if it is). This is a great position to transition into any ZvT midgame. Grabbing 4 gas and going Muta/Ling/Baneling is a good idea most of the time.
Any Terran build that focuses on early military presence is a soft counter to this build, and will almost certainly prevents you from killing your opponent outright. A Pure Marauder opening is the best counter, do not attack if you see that and get a lot of speedlings out as soon as possible! Also Bunker-Reinforced Wall-Ins can be a problem.
The good thing is that it's strong against openings that we hate to see: 1-1-1, Reaper, and Hellion.
- Note: This build does excellent against 3-Rax or 5-Rax Reaper. Your opponent will have 3-or-so Reapers out when you hit. Do not defend your base with all your Roaches, but instead bust down your opponent's base, since your opponent will not have any other units or defenses. If he ignores your Roaches and decides to harass your base, use the upcoming Zerglings and Queen(s) and defend with micro. Your ling speed should be done around the time your Roaches reach your opponent's base. You will be able to do much more damage to him than he can to you.
Your opponent will immediately switch to mass Marauder when he sees the Roaches knocking on the door. Little does he know Speedlings are on the way.
- Short Ground Rush Distance
- Large/Wide Ramps
- Backdoor Entrance
- Example: Blistering Sands, Steppes of War
- Long Rush Distance
- Example: Desert Oasis
- But this build can be done on any 1v1 Map in the current pool.
- More Information, Discussion and a lot of high level (Diamond 800+) replays can be found in this thread.
- This build is also called "The Fist". The 5 Roaches each represent a finger closed to a fist to punch a hole in your opponent's wall. It is also a reference to its popularizer Fistdantilus.