I'm a platinum zerg having trouble dealing with protoss lategame. Previously I always did Stephano's 12:00 roach max, which worked most of the time, but now I want to learn to play standard. So now I'm at an impasse here with the protoss deathball. I just can't beat it. I think my scouting may be an issue here - I sometimes overreact or underreact.

Replay 1: click here

I sent a 10 drone scout, which saw a gateway expand, so I went 3 hatch before pool, with a 5:40 roach warren to defend timings.

When I saw multiple gateways in my opponents wall, I produced roach/ling to defend, but I think I overproduced and came out behind. How do I know how much defense is necessary to defend early-midgame gateway pressure? And if they don't attack, and just sit with there units, how do I know when I can start droning again? Or maybe in this scenario I should just keep producing units and trickle in the drones instead.

Anyways, I ended up defending my opponents gateway aggression with too many units left over, which soon became useless. I droned up my third once I dealt with the zealots. Since I saw robo units when I counterattacked, I went for an infestation pit and produced mass static defense for a transition to swarm hosts.

I've seen Catz defuse the deathball this way on his stream using swarmhost/spine/spore/viper/infestor/hydra, so I tried it too. I felt my lack of APM was a large factor in my loss. If I played faster I could have a lot more static defense ready, dealt with their harass and micro'd better against feedbacks, but this is platinum and nobody knows what they're doing.

I'm sure my opponent made a lot of strategic errors that I could have exploited, but I don't know where they are. APM will be developed the more I play, nothing I can do about that. In lieu of more APM, what strategic errors did my opponent make, and how do I recognize and exploit them?

Replay 2: click here

This game was against the same player, who went for the same opening again. Gateway expand -> zealot pressure -> phoenix -> Robo deathball.

Here I tried roach/hydra into vipers, which failed miserably. Colossus just melted everything. What could I have done better?

Please don't tell me I need to brush up on my mechanics, that's pretty obvious. We had similar APM and I'm sure my opponent made a lot of strategic errors too, I just need to know where they are. Thanks for your replies.

  • if you made defending units and there is nothing to defend against then go attack, i.e. make that investment count by providing pressure so they can't use the downtime to drone up and beat you by economy Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 8:09
  • @ratchetfreak I did, but when I got to their base they had sentries and immortals to defend. I think my opponent probably would have gotten those sentries/immortals even if I hadn't counterattacked. I feel I damaged my economy doing this because their build stayed the same, while I made overmade units that did no damage - but I can't tell how many defending units (or accurately predict what composition) I need to make to defend early gateway pressure.
    – midrare
    Commented Oct 24, 2013 at 4:16
  • A friend of mine, good Zerg player, told me, in Zerg, allways try to delay your unit production. This is based on good creep and scout. With larva, you are able to produce like 30 or 40 unit in a row. This is the theory but, we can't deny that this is one of the zergs strength, be able to produce verry late according to opponent units.
    – TCHdvlp
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 9:20

1 Answer 1


How do I know how much defense is necessary to defend early-midgame gateway pressure?

Typically you don't make units until you see him move out. An overlord sac will get you an idea for what he's doing (all-in vs pressure). Making sure there are no hidden pylons on your side of the map is very important, because you need the time between his base and yours to make units. Without this buffer, you're either making units blind or taking a risk, because you can't scout exactly how many units he has, and often it's difficult to scout exactly how many gateways he has.

Generally speaking you drone to about 55 on 3 bases. If he doesn't take a third you should be extremely careful droning. Most likely you can stop at 60 drones and make units until he has a third started.

Your ideal composition for dealing with the deathball is swarmhost(or roach)/hydra/viper.

You can use ling runby's and extra expansions to use up excess minerals. 2-4 overlord zergling drops in the main are extremely annoying and often very effective.

You should have a sizable supply advantage and maxed before 16 minutes, so that you can apply pressure and hopefully grab a few expensive units from him before he pushes out with 200/200. Also, denying the 4th base is paramount

Hydralisk timings ~ 11:00 when he goes phoenix are very effective

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