I often see Zerg players build spawning pool immediately followed by an Evolution Chamber (EC). What is a purpose of that quick EC? To get quick armor/attack upgrades for zerglings?

Sometimes I also see a Zerg build EC without building extractor... so how he is going to get gas in this case?

8 Answers 8


I'd say it is a quick and cheap way to free up some supply, for a building you'll need eventually anyway. Might also be used for wall-ins/sim city.


There are two reasons for the quick Evolution Chamber.

Reason One

The first, as you noted, was early upgrades which can quickly turn a fragile force (take zerglings for example) into an early game force to fear. However without gas this isn't a feasible strategy. If attempting this build order, gas first is a must to make use of that early Evolution Chamber.

Reason Two

What you are witnessing is preventative measures designed to protect against early air pressure. With Banshees, Void rays, and Mutalisk a consistent threat, a Zerg can unlock the ability to build spore crawlers providing both detection and vital air defense. The extra protection is often worth the extra resource cost to help the Zerg survive to mid-late game where they can overwhelm their opponent with macro.

  • 1
    Reason one is absolutely clear, but as you confirmed: with gas 1st only. And reason 2: building EC (evolution chamber) for air protection on the 3-4th minutes doesn't seem like worth investment: you opponent won't have air prior to ground forces.
    – Budda
    Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 15:23
  • Oh, I didn't mention that I see 'EC' without extractor in EARLY game. At least after 5 minute - it is fine. But when I scout opponent with SCV and see spawning pool and evolution chambers are building in parallel... I'm just wondering: does he have a lot of minerals and doesn't know how to spend them?
    – Budda
    Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 15:26
  • That is a good thing to note. Assuming this is a competent player (platinum - diamond) the EC without extractor can only fulfill the purpose of anti-air. Banshee's hit around 8 minutes (if I remember right and void rays are around 6). Having an extractor before 5 minutes with no gas provides no advantages. It is possible your just seeing a non-refined build order :)
    – Aardvark
    Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 18:07
  • 5
    In fact, it is actually a disadvantage to Zerg to build buildings before they can be utilized. Because of Zerg's build mechanics they not only lose the mining time (all races do) and minerals but they also lose the drone itself
    – Aardvark
    Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 19:55

Yes, to increase the effectiveness of early Zergling/Speedling harassments, early upgrades are good.

In the case that you see an Evolution Chamber without an Extractor, he unlocks the Spore Crawler.


I don't agree with any of answers doesn't handle case of EC necessity in EARLY game (is build together with Spawning Pool w/o gas).

  1. Gas is absent, so you won't be able to start upgrades;
  2. Opponent Air Units will be absent yet 2 or more minutes, so there are no value from ability to build spore colonies

My guess, why they build EC very early is they are just supply blocked and want to release 1 supply. It is not too reasonable though, as they can build extractor (it is only 25 minerals)...

  • 1
    All the other answers give reasonable descriptions of why someone would make an early Evo Chamber. If we are talking about an inexperienced player, simply guessing at reasons for why they would be wasting 125 minerals and a mining drone could return hundreds of answers. Why are you more likely to believe this rather than they might be either a) preparing to strongly defend and turtle in their base by having a detector and anti-air defenses or b) discourage a scouting player from a cheese build because of the existence of the detector?
    – kazzamalla
    Commented Jan 10, 2011 at 1:29
  • Ok, sounds reasonable :)
    – Budda
    Commented Jan 10, 2011 at 16:48

It can be effective. It DOES make a person who scouts you not think about putting out early air. Its a decent fooling tactic. Additionally, if you are capped out, have no larvae, and have huge mineral surplus. You need that building later on, but will you have the time/money/drone when you have to produce a consistent stream of army units?

Do you neglect to build a roach warren if the other person is getting something that can counter roaches? Even if you tech up, maybe they build something later that completely destroys you because you didn't have a roach warren built and couldn't produce them in time. And because you didn't build the building before you needed it, but only after.


Getting an evolution chamber early is usually a mistake. Unless the zerg player took two extractors early, they won't be able to make the upgrades, and air/cloaked units will take a while longer. It's better to put those minerals into getting an expo up. I usually don't get an evolution chamber until I have my expo ~50% saturated, and by then I can get an overseer scout to see if there's any air production. The exception is if you're able to scout a VR, banshee, or DT rush, because those can occasionally come before lair tech.

Personally I have experimented with a build that gets early +1 speedlings to defend the expo and deny scouting and fast expands. But of course that requires gas.


Maybe he had a defensive tactic in mind.

When evolution chambers die, they spawn broodlings. Broodlings aren't as a secure a defense as spinecrawlers are, but they may be a decisive factor when defending a base since they attack, and they may give the player some time to return to his base to defend. Tt gives sporecrawlers and upgrades, if the Zerg needs some.

  • This answer is somewhat vague, could you try addressing the question?
    – childe
    Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 22:52

Tonight I learned that carapace before speed is really really really good vs marine pressure openings....

slow lings with +1 armor do way better vs marines then speedlings without any armor.

They actually do better vs marines then +1 attack speedlings, if the marines don't try to run away etc....

The issue is there speed and the difficulty in getting surrounds with out speedlings.... but your going to get speed shortly after anyways.

Here's another weird tip that sounds like it can't work but it does.

+1 carapace with lings is better then +1 attack vs unupgraded stalkers as well.

BUT +1 attack is way way better vs stalkers if they get the armour upgrade. I'll leave it to you as an excercise to figure out why.

I would go as far as to say that evo chamber at the same time as your pool hard counters marine + tank openings and pure bio openings. (NON-reaper)

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