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Fail Pool Rush (vs Protoss)

It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Aggressive Pool First. Reason: all fast pool builds should be merged with Aggressive Pool First (Discuss).
[e][h] Fail Pool
Strategy Information


This build is a gambit designed to damage your opponents economy while allowing yourself to expand. This build works on 2-player and 4-player maps, but gets exceedingly risky as distance between bases increases.


This build appears as an all-in attempt to your opponent, but transitions quickly into an econ heavy game. Of utmost importance is slowing down the Cybernetics Core and warp-gate research in order to delay counter-attacks.

Basic Build Order 1[edit]

Basic Build
  • 7/10 - Spawning Pool
  • 8/10 - Overlord
  • @Spawning Pool completion - 2 pair of Zerglings
  • Send a Drone to scout
  • @Overlord completion - 2 pair of Zerglings
  • 12/18 - Queen
  • 14/18 - Drones + (keep up on Overlords)
  • @300 - Expand

Basic Build Order 2[edit]

Basic Build
  • 7/10 - Spawning Pool
  • Stop producing drones @ 9 supply
  • @Spawning Pool completion - double extractor trick into 3 pair of Zerglings
  • Send a Drone to scout
  • 12/10 - Overlord
  • 12/18 - Queen
  • 14/18 - Drones + (keep up on Overlords)
  • @300 - Expand

Differences of Build Order[edit]

There are two major points where Fail Pool builds will have meaningful differences from one-another. The first is the Overlord timing/Extractor trick usage. The second is whether to send a scouting drone or not. Build Order 1 will provide more punch with your rush while Build Order 2 will prove to be slightly more economical, thereby requiring that you deal less damage to make the rush worth it. Most numbers throughout this page will assume you are using Build Order 1.


  • The scouting drone should hit your opponents base first. His job is to keep the door open for any Zerglings that will follow. If there is an area in your opponents wall that looks like a Pylon or Gateway could block it off, stand the drone there and wait for Zergling back-up, after the Zerglings are in the drone can either be used to augment your Zergling force or sent back home to help with mining.
  • This build is not designed to kill the opponent out-right. It is possible, but that is the exception to the rule. Instead, it is an economic gambit. You must do roughly 400 minerals of economic damage to consider it successful, otherwise you are behind.


Your Overlord will obviously head toward the closest base as soon as possible, your drone should head toward the next closest as soon as the Spawning Pool finishes. As soon as the Zerglings finish all (possibly all but 1) should be rallied toward the farthest base unless you have found your opponents base. This will get your Zerglings in your opponent's base as fast as possible in a blind situation.

  • note - if your opponent is scouting your base when the Zerglings pop, peel off 1 of the Zerglings from the 5-6 set (not the 1-4 set, they need to make it to your opponents base as soon as possible) and kill their probe. That is your first 50 minerals worth of economic damage.


Depending on how your opponent has walled off, you must proceed with different attacking priorities.

In general, priorities are as follows:

  • Keep your Zerglings alive for as long as possible
  • Keep probes from mining as long as possible (not necessarily killing them)
  • Kill probes when you can trade positively for Zerglings (If you could lose all 8 Zerglings to kill 10 probes, go for it)
  • Kill Pylons when not properly defended
  • Kill Zealots if alone and nothing else can be targeted


There is a lot of flexibility involved in this opening due to various options that the Protoss player has in blocking off your opponent's ramp.

The most important thing to remember is that cannons and Forges are considered economic damage in your running tally (1 Forge and 2 cannons built cost 450 minerals, with you killing nothing. That is a successful rush, back up and conserve your lings for later use.)

-If your opponent has completely walled off with 2 Gateways and a Pylon, blocking his Zealots as they spawn and killing the Gateways is a great way to get 300 minerals worth of damage done.

-If your opponent has a Forge but no cannon when you arrive, depending on amount of exposure, you can usually kill a Pylon or the Forge before the cannon finishes, this is not always the case depending on ramp orientation.

  • Note - The most important function of this build is that a typical Gateway timing of >12 will not be able to get a Zealot out in time to block off the ramp when the pool is made on 7.


Pro features[edit]

  • Short rush distance is not required, but the longest feasible rush distance this works on is cross-position Metalopolis or Shakuras Plateau. On maps larger than these, a Fail Pool is not recommended
  • Destructible rocks that can be destroyed if/when your lings get run off, whether it be a backdoor entrance or a 3rd base to take later. Anything that makes use of your Zerglings in alternative ways is a plus

Con features[edit]

  • Longer rush distances
  • Poorly executed Fail Pools will put you so far behind your opponent, it will be impossible to recover