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I have frequently hear casters talk about how Roaches have replaced Hydralisks in the mid game. In what ways have roaches replaced hydras? Isn't the DPS and range on a Hydra considerably better?

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They fill a gap, and are a good tanking unit, but they do not replace hydra's completely, as they do not shoot air. – Viper_Sb Jan 10 '11 at 22:20
up vote 21 down vote accepted

While it is true that the range 5 (or 6 after upgrading) is better than the roaches' range of 4, and that the DPS is considerably better (~14.5 vs 8 DPS), the roaches still have a number of advantages over hydras.

  • Better Health: 145 vs 80
  • Better Base Armor: 1 vs 0
  • Better Speed post-upgrade: 3.0 vs 2.25
  • Lower Cost: 75M 25G vs 100M 50G
  • Faster Build Time: 27 seconds vs 33 seconds
  • After upgrades, can move while burrowed.
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+1 Here I was, wasting time looking up the stats you just listed: you win! – Ivo Flipse Jan 10 '11 at 22:22
..and they can heal fast while burrowed. – DrFish Jan 11 '11 at 15:06

Probably because Roaches:

  • are cheaper;
  • don't require a Lair, so you get access to them earlier;
  • can move while burrowed (requires Burrow);
  • heal themselves while burrowed (if upgraded);
  • run faster while not on creep (if upgraded).
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