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General ZvP Strategy

From Liquipedia StarCraft 2 Wiki

Unit Roles and Counters[edit]

  • Zerglings: Strong in large numbers against Stalkers and Immortals. Weaker against Zealots, and particularly weak against Colossi. Because Protoss armies tend to be strongest when clustered together, Zerglings can be used for effective harassment and maintaining map control well into the late game. Constantly putting a Protoss player on the defense allows safe droning and expanding.
  • Roaches: Strong against Zealots and good at breaking defenses. They are the core of the Zerg army, although they are very vulnerable to force fields and large numbers of colossi.
  • Banelings: Useful against Zealots, Probes, and Pylons. Note that Zealots are hardier than other tier 1 light units, making Banelings slightly less effective. Banelings are most effective when placed into Overlords and used as Baneling bombs.
  • Hydralisks: Strong against all units except High Templar and Colossi. Expand creep aggressively to help Hydralisks move faster around the map. Hydras are extremely effective against Gateway and Stargate units, but lose effectiveness in the mid to late game. Hydras are typically used defensively against early Void Ray or Phoenix usage.
  • Mutalisks: Useful for harass, but easily brought down by very mobile Stalkers, especially once Blink is researched. Stalker armor and Sentry Guardian Shield severely reduce Mutalisk damage.
  • Infestors: Useful unit all around. Note that Fungal Growth prevents Stalker Blink and when cast over cloaked units, reveals them. Infestors are becoming the core of the midgame ZvP match-up. Fungal growth is extremely effective against Gateway-heavy armies, can be used for mineral line harassment, and can be used to shut down Phoenix/Void Ray harassment. Mind control can neutralize higher tier Protoss units.
  • Corruptors: Hard counter to Colossi, but taken down easily by Stalkers and Void Rays. Corruptors are not as effective a counter against Colossus as Vikings, but are still a viable option because they can be morphed into Brood Lords. Corruptors can be used defensively to hold off Colossus timing attacks when a Protoss player will have 3-4 Colossus and the range upgrade.
  • Brood Lords: Strong against all ground units except for Blink-Stalkers which will Blink past Broodlings to attack the Brood Lords directly. No defense against Phoenixes and Void Rays. Brood Lords are most effective if supported by Roaches and Infestors.
  • Ultralisks: Can break through Force Fields and wreak havoc among ground units. Obtain armor upgrades to increase survivability.


  • Protoss development is typically a little slower than that of other races, making early Zergling harass effective. Protoss will typically defend against this by walling in with buildings and a stationary Zealot. You can punish a Protoss opponent who fails to do this correctly.
  • Target Sentries to prevent Force Fields from separating your army. Roaches with the Tunneling Claws upgrade can Burrow and tunnel under forcefields if your army is separated.
  • Due to the effectiveness of Stalkers against Mutalisks, Zerg players typically choose Hydralisks over Mutalisks once Lair tech is available.
  • Protoss units tend to be more cost effective, beefier, and benefit greatly from upgrades in this match-up. The key to this match-up is that most Protoss units do not have good DPS, and they tend to lack mobility. Abusing these two weaknesses is key to this match-up.
  • Do not be afraid to trade armies with a Protoss player, as Protoss armies tend to be far more expensive and take much longer to reproduce.
  • A Protoss player that fast expands will typically not become aggressive because they will not have enough units to defend their expansion, relying instead on forcefields and cannons for defense. There are two choices: drone up hard and take a fast third base which gives you an economic lead that leads to a strong mid to late game, or attempt a Roach/ling bust against his natural expansion.


  • Spread creep aggressively to prevent the building of proxy Pylons. Be sure to scout out where your creep hasn't spread.
  • During an attack on your Natural Expansion, Sentries will often Force Field your ramp to prevent reinforcements from your main from arriving. This makes Sentries a high priority target.
  • Build a set of one Spine Crawler and one Spore Crawler at each of your bases if the game goes on longer. This largely nullifies any potential late-game Dark Templar harass.

Additional Notes[edit]

Common Playstyles and Unit Composition[edit]


Mass Hydralisks are effective against many Protoss unit compositions, especially with Zergling support, whereas Mutalisks are easily taken out by Stalkers. However, if the Protoss gets Colossi, you will need to build a Spire and add Corruptors to counter. As Hydralisks are much slower than Stalkers, try to expand Creep as aggressively as possible.

Supporting build orders:

Mass Roach[edit]

The goal here is to end the game quickly by breaking the Protoss wall-in with Roaches and cleaning up remaining forces with Roaches and Zerglings.

Supporting build orders:


Due to the effectiveness of Stalkers against Mutalisks, this unit composition requires good micro to execute effectively. By forcing the opponent to mass Stalkers and Photon Cannons to protect against Mutalisk harass, you can take control of the game economically.

Supporting build orders: