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AFAIK, 2 queens costs 300 minerals and consumes 4 supply. 1 hatchery costs 300 minerals and doesn't consume supply. 2 queens require constant management (not too often, not too boring if certain rules are following, but still: they need to be additionally managed). 2 queens allows you to get +30% larvas output (for 2 hatcheries - it is 2 larvas). 1 hatchery gives you 3 larvas...

Yes, queens can be used as a defensive unit against air invaders, can be used as some help against ground invasions... but that is weak benefit.

Could you please describe, why queens are so popular?

Thanks.

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I think many of your numbers for how much larva queens can actually produce are off. –  Mag Roader Dec 23 '10 at 21:02

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

A queen using the spawn larva ability as often as possible creates 4 larva after 40 seconds (so an average of 1 larva/10 seconds). A hatchery produces 1 larva every 15 seconds, and only if there are less than 3 larva at the hatchery. Thus a queen effectively used actually produces more larva than an extra hatchery, and for less than half the cost! Don't forget that extra hatch also costs the 50 you spent on the drone, and is one less drone mining.

Especially early game or vs any things like a banshee rush or void ray rush, the queen's attack capabilities are not to be underestimated. Don't forget, until lair tech queens are your only mobile anti-air unit you have. Additionally, queens have the transfuse and creep tumor ability.

Spreading creep is vital for zerg as it provides vision as well as a speed increase to all zerg units on it, so creep tumors are a necessity.

Transfuse is nice for keeping your key units or structures alive, but is most commonly used on other queens when they are your only anti-air until you get your lair tech out.

Note: you can only have one larva inject on a hatchery at a time, so 2 queens on one hatch do not increase the larva spawn rate any more than one does.

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1 larva each 10 seconds? Khm... probably time lengths too quickly for me during game. Too often (actually, I played Zerg only 5 times in SC2, but anyway), too often I saw that hatchery is in progress...of doing something: blue/gray progress bar is increasing and I can't cast new larva by Queen. and in the same time I didn't cast it in previous 10 seconds... I thought that 1 larva producing by queen take like a 30 seconds ... Am I wrong? –  Budda Dec 23 '10 at 23:33
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@Budda From Liquipedia II (wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft2/Spawn_Larvae): "The Queen injects 4 larva eggs into a Hatchery which after 40 seconds hatch and 4 larvae are ready to be used at the targeted Hatchery." So you don't get 1 larva after 10 seconds; rather, you get 4 larvae after 40 seconds. You should cast Spawn Larvae every 40 seconds if you can manage it. Also of note is that a Hatchery can stockpile a whole lot of larvae (19, it says) so you can blast out a ton of units in a hurry if you are saving up (probably due to having been at supply maximum for a while). –  Mag Roader Dec 24 '10 at 1:05

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