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TRUE's Mutalisk/SH (vs. Protoss)

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[e][h]ZergTRUE's Mutalisk/SH (vs. Protoss)
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HotS Strategy, Advanced
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In 2014 Proleague Round 2, TRUE annihilated Stork in Game 2 of Jin Air vs. Samsung using an interesting Mutalisk timing into Swarm Host play that allowed him to always be one step ahead of Stork compositionally. TRUE's ability to take map control and always stay ahead of Stork was incredible and deserves a look.

Of course, it is difficult to show exactly what TRUE's ideal build order would have been in the event of zero pressure, but here is the closest I can get to his build order:

TRUE's Mutalisk/SH Build
  • 10 - Overlord
  • 11 - Extractor Trick
  • 14 - Hatchery
  • 18 - Hatchery
  • 18 - Spawning Pool
  • 18 - Assimilator
  • 17 - Overlord
  • 21 - Queen
  • 23 - Overlord
  • 23 - Zerglings x 2
  • 25 - Queen
  • 27 - Zergling Speed(5:00)
    • Pull Drones off Gas Geyser**
  • - Additional Zerglings to defend
  • 31 - Overlord
  • 33 - Queen
  • 36 - Queen
  • - Build constant Drones after defending
  • @6:00 - Use Overlord to scout main base
  • @7:00 - Use Zerglings to scout the front of the Protoss base
  • @7:15 - Put Drones back on Gas Geyser
  • @7:45 - Build 2 Assimilators
  • @100 Gas -> Make Lair
  • @9:00 - Build 3 Assimilators
  • @100% Lair -> Build Spire (9:30)
  • @10:00 - Build 4th Hatchery
  • After ~20 Mutalisks -> infestation pit/Evolution chamber
  • 5th hatch when comfortable
  • - Upgrade +1 air attacks/Overlord speed with Mutalisks
  • - Upgrade +1 ranged attack/+2 air attacks as Swarm Hosts start

The Basic Format[edit]

  • Greedy economic opening
  • Heavy ling production to gain map control
  • Mutalisk/Zergliing to sustain map control and deal economic damage
  • SH switch after Protoss invests in anti-air
  • Add on Corruptor/Infestor (and eventually queens/BL) for final army

What Happened[edit]

TRUE's triple Hatchery before Spawning Pool opening is obviously very greedy, but Stork attempts to punish it in the strongest way possible: Zealot/Stalker/Stalker poke before Nexus. Fortunately, with the early third hatch, TRUE is able to amass a large amount of lings to push the pressure back. Once he has a ton of Lings and Zergling Speed, he is able to control the map, spot the Protoss army, and prevent an exceptionally early third base from going down.

This map control allows TRUE to drone up safely on three bases while continually scouting for possible attacks (6:00-10:00). At 6:00, TRUE sacrifices an Overlord into the main base to check for tech while also spotting the front wall. When Stork attempts to take a 3rd at 7:30, TRUE does his best to prevent it and also gets a lucky run by into the main base. Because this run by gets a lot of scouting information, TRUE opts to skip a lot of scouting until much later. Throughout all of this scouting, he spots no Stargate and no incoming attack, so he opts for a very fast Spire.

When entering into the next phase of the game (10:00-15:00), TRUE continually builds Zerglings while spending all of his gas into Mutas, allowing him to do tons of economic damage with runbys and Mutalisk harass while keeping Stork pinned back on 3 bases. TRUE uses this advantage to take a fourth and fifth base, spread tons of creep, and tech to swarm hosts. Just as Stork gets the phoenix numbers high enough to deal with Mutalisks, however, he is met with a horde of Locusts and zero Colossus, a nightmare for any Protoss player.

As Stork attempts to get out colossi in order to deal with the swarm hosts, TRUE is already ahead of him in terms of composition, adding on Corruptors and Infestors (17:00-end). The final result is a Protoss player stuck on 3 bases continually trading against a composition-ally superior army. Though Stork attempts everything to stay alive, he eventually loses all of his tech units and is forced for tap out.

Additional Notes[edit]

TRUE skips most upgrades since Mutalisk/Zergling does not need upgrades to accomplish the goal of economic damage. Later, however, he starts air attack and ranged attack to benefit his end game composition of Queen/Corruptor/Swarm Host + Infestor. Another important thing to note is that this game was played on Sejong Station, the most notorious Swarm Host map in Proleague's map pool; following this logic, this style could easily work on any map with a direct path and easy-to-defend fourth and/or fifth bases such as Habitation Station or Yeonsu.

Obviously, TRUE picked this particular opening because he scouted no Stargate. In the event of a Stargate, it is quite possible he might still go for a Muta/Corruptor opening, but using a Queen-heavy opening, an Infestor-based composition, or a Hydralisk composition is also viable as a transition, though it may not give you the same amount of map control.

Overall, the biggest emphasis of TRUE's style is using lots of Zerglings with Metabolic Boost early on to scout and gain map control, giving him time to Drone up; and then extending this theme with the Mutalisk/Zergling transition. Once he has a lot of economy (particularly a lot of gas) and plenty of Creep Spread, he can transition into a more "direct engagement" army of Swarm Hosts, Corruptors, and Infestors, eventually adding on Queens and Brood Lords to create the ultimate late game composition. The way in which TRUE transitions is also quite clever, forcing the Protoss to react in wildly different ways and allowing him the time to always get one step ahead in the ultimate composition war of ZvP.