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I am a Zerg, and after a lot of sweating on battle.net I managed to get to the point where I survive with minimal losses to a number of rush waves.

My problem is that once I have enough resources to start massing advanced units I just don't know what to do!

Just as an example, lately I've been experimenting with loads of Mutas and a bunch of broodlords but getting obliterated by massed Hydras.

Can more experienced players provide examples of late-game strategies against different races?

Any input appreciated.

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closed as too broad by DrFish, Kappei, Unionhawk, Zommuter, kotekzot Oct 7 '13 at 15:10

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3 Answers 3

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The problem with most people transitioning with zerg to late game is that the other two races have what most people consider a "late game" unit. Carriers & Battlecruisers. This is a carryover of playing against the computer where you turtle until you build your "finger of god" army and then wipe the computer. Truly though, those 2 units are not good as a "single unit army" late game against a decent opponent. They won't let you turtle and build up like that.

Zerg has the ultralisk, but since it doesn't fly it's not the same as the other two races. As such, in SC2, late game zerg MUST be a mixed army, and it must be a LOT of units.

The best example of this is watching pros play. Check out this Day9 cast:

it's a great example of how the zerg player plays to zerg's strengths vs terran. he doesn't attack the mmm ball where the mmm ball has the advantage. he uses mutas (yes mutas) and lings & roaches. Particularly watch from 35:00 to 36:00 as he talks about WHEN & WHERE the zerg player should have attacked the terran player. fantastic commentary about using WHAT you have correctly, vs. worrying about what you SHOULD have. And what's great about this example is that essentially, when he finally brings in just a few brood lords but uses them correctly by 1. understanding what the enemy has, and 2. utilizing them accordingly, it's the brood lords that are a key part in giving him the win.

There's no "one size fits all" late game army composition, but here are some examples of good late game zerg armies:

1) roaches, banelings, speedlings & mutas. The power of this army is it's speed, but it's no slouch in a straight up fight. Be careful of fighting a mainly MMM ball in the open. Choose carefully when to engage them. It's weakness is anti air, but your ground units cost so little gas you should have masses of mutas, and if they go hard air units, just ignore and destroy them economically with your lings & banelings. Mix in some ultras for a good MMM busting mix, or some brood lords like in the video, or some infestors.

2) roaches, hydras, brood lords. as long as you keep your roaches in front this is a deadly combo. hydras are made of glass but they have good dps. the 3 different units will have a bit of speed difference so keep aware of that. Throwing in any other units will still help. infestors to lock down a mmm ball, ultralisks for more tanking, corruptors for stronger anti air and corrupting big units like titans, bc's etc.

3) speedlings/banelings, corruptors & brood lords. Keep your brood lords where the enemy can't get a bunch of units to single target them. so off a cliff or something.

4) just about any combo of units as long as you use them correctly.

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I'm cleaning up some old answers that might have been accurate at the time of writing but are completely incorrect now, so the updated answer:

ZvT


In ZvT there are a few common game plans i have observed recently.

Muta/Ling/Bling into Broodlords

The classic, but recently falling out of favour. You open with Zergling/Baneling, get Mutalisks when the Lair finishes, harass the opponent until he dies and if he doesn't, you get Broodlords to finish him off. If he moves out too early for Broodlords, you build as many Banelings as possible and roll over his army with your hopefully superior economy.

This is very volatile since you need perfect Mutalisk control and if you lose some to a lucky Thor shot, the opponent can just move out and kill you straight away. Also, the current trend for heavily upgrades Marines allows the Terran to keep only a small number of Marines in the base while he's still safe. The high gas cost of Mutalisks also makes teching very hard, but if you keep upgrading mutalisks and manage to transition into Broodlords, they will spawn with good upgrades, which can give you a significant advantage.

Ling/Infestor into Broodlords

My favourite. You basically build only Drones and Zerglings while using all the gas for double Upgrades and a fast tech to some Infestors. As soon as the Infestation Pit is done and you research the Infestor Energy upgrades, you start the Spire and Hive at the same time and as soon as both finish (they have the same build time), you morph the Greater Spire and get Broodlords. After that it's all about positioning and Fungal Growth.

This Strategy needs very good map awareness and perfect Injects to always have the exact amount of Zerglings that you need to be safe. Banelings can become neccessary against Marine heavy compositions, but they delay your Broodlords, so think twice before getting them.

Ling/Infestor into Ultralisks

The basic opening is like Ling/Infestor above, except you get the Ultralisk Cavern instead of Spire/Greater Spire.

While Ultralisks were considered useless for quite a long time they are recently used a lot more and with a lot more success. The key is not massing Ultralisks but getting a few (~8) and then using them to tank Damage while a big number of Zerglings kills everything.

There are several key points to make Ultralisks work:

  • You have to land good Fungals so the opponent can't kite them.
  • Not too many Ultralisks so they don't block each other.
  • Control each Ultralisk seperately to make sure they don't get stuck on buildings or in chokes.

Stephano played this for a long time with great success, before moving on to the more successful Ling/Infestor/Broodlord strategy.

ZvP


Basically in ZvP you only need two options:

Roach/Mutalisk into Broodlords

Your earlygame Units are Zerglings and Roaches, the exact composition depends on the opponents composition. On this basis, tech to Lair and Spire, get Mutalisks and harass him until he gets forced into a desperation attack or rolls over and dies. Keep the Colossus count as low as possible but don't lose Mutalisks.

In the mean time you get Air upgrades, Infestors, Hive and Greater Spire followed by Broodlords and some Infestors, you then move out and kill him or defend his desperation attack and then move out to kill him.

This strategy is like the similar Ling/Bling/Muta ZvT Strategy very volatile. Blink Stalkers make Harass very hard and if he opens with some sort of non-cheese Stargate, don't even try it. Since the Patch that added the Phoenix Range upgrade, Phoenixes counter Mutalisks very easily and you won't be cost efficient unless he screws up his Phoenix micro.

Roach into Infestor/Broodlord

As a more stable strategy, you open with a lot more Roaches instead of Mutalisks, which leaves you with more gas that you can use for Upgrades, Infestors and faster Broodlords.

If he goes Stargate play, either get some Hydralisks (max 3 per Phoenix) and kill him with your Roach army or get a Spire for some Corruptors. You might want to get a Spire for Corruptors if you scout or suspect Colossi to counter those, you can later morph it into the Greater Spire for Broodlords. After that it comes down to Fungal on his Blink Stalkers and keeping them away from Broodlords.

Ultralisks

Nope, they don't get used. Immortals rip Ultralisks to Shreds and while theoretically Fungal Growth can allow Ultralisks to connect with Blink Stalkers, i've never seen anyone do that successfully.


ZvZ

The (in my opinion) most volatile Matchup still hasn't really developed a solid lategame, it usually starts with Roaches and ends with Roaches (or with 2 banelings in your mineral line), so it's hard to write down a solid game plan, but i'll try anyways.

Ling/Bling into Roach/Infestor/Broodlord

From the early Zergling/Baneling wars, you transition into the common Roach midgame. From there, you get a few infestors out and try to survive with equal bases and equal unit count until you get some Broodlords out. As with all non-Mutalisk Broodlord strategies, you should start Spire at the same time as your Hive and then morph into Greater Spire as soon as both finish.

If the opponent scouts your Spire and the Hive he will most likely get a Spire for Corruptors, which means you need a similar amount of Corruptors together with your Broodlords. However, he might just decide to get lots of Roaches instead and kill you straight up since you sank a lot of gas into Tech that he now has in Units. You can stop that by adding a lot of Zerglings to your Roaches or counter attacking, but this is still the most dangerous moment in the game.

You then engage straight up and try to fungal everything that might shoot your broodlords (corruptors/hydralisks).

Ling/Bling/Roach into Ling/Roach/Infestor/Ultralisks

As with the Broodlord strategy you open up into a Roach/Infestor midgame. From there you slowly transition into Hive and Ultralisks.

You can get Melee Upgrades early on instead of Ranged to make better use of the Ultralisks in the late game but it's a risk in the Roach midgame. You then engage his Army and Fungal his Roaches in as big clusters as you can so you make the most use of Ultralisk Splash.

Mutalisks

With the very Infestor focussed metagame at the moment, it's not a good idea to go Mutalisks if the Opponent has Infestors ready. 3 Infestors can kill all your expensive Mutalisks if you get caught in a bad spot and after that he can just move out and kill you.

It is possible to make Mutalisks work, but in my opinion it's not worth the risk.


Old Answer

It depends on what the enemy does. Mutalisks are a good solution for the midgame and perfect for harassment and map control, but they die quickly to hydralisks. Against a mainly Hydralisk army a group of ultralisks and banelings (don't forget banelings in lategame) work very well. He can either kite the banelings and get AoE damage from the ultralisks or kill the ultralisks and get obliterated by banelings.

Anyways, try not to let it come to the lategame, contain your enemy in the midgame with a big amount of mutalisks so you just get the superior economy and can just throw wave after wave of units into his base.

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When you watch the replays of these games what do you see? (If you are not watching replays of your losses, that's the first thing you can do to improve. (giving us an actual replay can also help us help you btw) You are assuming your problem is unit composition. However, there are lots of issues besides unit comp that affects who wins a big battle. Are your armies equivalent in food costs when they collide? ie are you both maxed out at 200/200? if you are at 150 and they are at 200, that could explain the problem. Do they have +3/+3 upgrades but you have none? That's another potential issue. Even if you both had the exact same number of units and upgrades, you might still not win. Are you engaging his entire army with half of yours, then with the other half 30 seconds later? That's a potential recipe for disaster. Is his army surrounding yours, on high ground, or otherwise in a better position? Those are the kinds of things that can affect who wins and that replays can help identify.

If you see that they have mass hydra, you probably shouldn't go mass muta if you want to have a big head to head army fight. If you do happen to end up with mass muta and are facing mass hydra, you can take advantage of mass muta's mobility advantage, and kill anything that is not near the (relatively slow) hydra ball. If the hydras are in the main, take out an expansion. If the hydras are guarding the expansion, fly to the main and kill off some workers or tech buildings. (If you add an overseer to your muta ball, you can kill off all their creep tumours, making the hydras even slower and reducing your opp's vision.)

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