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Often times in gamecasts, I hear the commentator saying how the Zerg player must always stay one expansion ahead of the other player, most importantly in the start of the game. Why is that? Wouldn't you consider that imbalanced? Or does it balance out somehow by Zerg being able to expand with more ease?

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Zerg expansions are the cheapest to build (costing only 350 minerals compared to 400) in addition they can grow their economy the fastest of any races. To compensate for their extreme economic power Zerg units are relatively fragile (largely due to their lack of range), not particularly cost effective, and the Zerg player must constantly choose between drones and army. In addition, one of the more technological (protoss or terran) races can support more overall production (workers + army) without being handicapped by the larvae mechanic. The combination of these force the Zerg to capitalize on its powerful economy to expand early (providing more larvae to match its opponents production) with the eventual goal of crushing the more technological races by sheer force.

Summary:

Zerg's 1 base cannot support as much production as 1 base terran or protoss due to having to choose between workers and army (larvae). Combined with cheap expansions and a strong economy it puts them into a balanced position in the match ups with a macro oriented play style

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    does it mean that if you are contained in the base, throw down another hatchery until you can break out? Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 2:12
  • @bronzebeard if you think you can break out quickly, an extra hatchery is a decent idea but not vital. If you are contained heavily two hatcheries will allow you to continue to pump drones (just like your opponent is doing) while building the army you need to break out. The longer you are contained on one base the more your production off one base will hurt you
    – Aardvark
    Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 16:09
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    so, essentially, it comes down to getting another "production" building down, and since it can collect resources also, best to put it in an expo? Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 20:07
  • I would say that is absolutely correct
    – Budda
    Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 23:20
  • @seanmonstar exactly
    – Aardvark
    Commented Feb 5, 2011 at 3:30
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The main reason as Aardvark told is increasing of larva production. But often, instead of expansion Zerg build 2nd Hatchery on their main (for example, in 2v2 game been under opponent's pressure).

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  • which still goes back to larva production. The benefit of building an in base hatchery is to spend more resources. The inability to spend resources is a direct symptom of being capped by larva production. The benefit of an in-base hatchery when under heavy pressure is to safely provide more larva production which can be used for drones or army without the risk of trying to secure an expansion
    – Aardvark
    Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 19:25
  • Agree. That is what I told. Probably not so clear. Thank you for help
    – Budda
    Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 23:19

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