I'm having a problem as zerg countering a protoss cannon play at my natural as an opener.

Sending drones to destroy the pylon really hurts my early economy, and often gets a couple drones killed when they can't destroy the pylon in time. Often the player is able to fire off a new pylon to re-activate the cannons they placed.

I've tried escaping a drone to build an expansion elsewhere, but it's relatively undefended, and I can't transfer drones there. It's not a stand-in for the local expansion.

I've also tried fast-teching to speedlings or nydus worm, but by the time I get there on a single base, the opponent has been able to mount a strong enough response.

This has been a problem whether I have a hatchery there or not. The hatchery can hold out a while against the cannons, but they obviously pick off any drones that go there.

Scouting it and delaying the hatchery puts me behind, and putting a hatchery elsewhere has made it vulnerable in the mid-game.

How can I come back against this opener?

  • 2
    The xpan or vanilla? Which league?
    – Travis J
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 6:12
  • HotS in gold league. Sorry :S
    – user1359
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 23:26
  • Can you be more precise about the protoss build you are talking about? You said "at the expansion", I guess it is yours right ? And after or before you put your hatch ?
    – Shunwoo
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 7:02
  • I'm guessing he's talking about the protos cannon rush at your natural. Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 12:14
  • Sorry again, yes at the natural. Also both before and after I put the hatch.
    – user1359
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 2:41

2 Answers 2


Generally if you pool before hatch you'll be safe against this sort of thing.

If you decide to hatch before pool in ZvP, you need to do a few things to stop the cannon rush on your natural expansion:

  • Put 4 drones on each building cannon to kill it before it completes

In order to do this, you need to prevent him from walling his cannons in, in such a way that you can't get drones around them any longer:

  • follow the probe with a drone
  • Try to "guess" where the next building will go in order to wall in his building cannons (to prevent you from killing them) and block them with additional drones
  • Never try to kill the pylon. It has more health, builds faster and can be rebuilt to power cannons

In order to cannon rush your natural he has to delay his nexus. So pulling 8 drones to stop the cannon rush doesn't really put you behind if his nexus isn't building yet.

Also, scouting on 10 with a drone will let you know if he has a forge or not

If he manages to cannon your natural, hopefully it cost him at least a few pylons and 3+ cannons. If that's the case you can cancel the hatchery and build at your third. Sneak a few lings out to prevent him from cannoning this new base. Generally speaking the cannons will be behind the minerals at the natural, so it shouldn't prevent you from transferring drones if he doesn't build more cannons.

If he does cannon your natural, be sure to kill those cannons by 8 minutes to prevent him from using the pylons for a warpgate all-in

  • Never kill the pylon... that's been my mistake all along! Thanks so much :)
    – user1359
    Commented Sep 17, 2014 at 2:38
  • If that doesn't work : voidrays.
    – Gil Sand
    Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 9:07

To defend cannon rush on natural, you must scout for probe trying to build a pylon on natural.

Generally, to hatch first, you should build an overlord on 9 supply and send it scout your natural and all near blind points. Keep the overlord on natural and watch the minimap for any nearby natural activity.

If you spot the building pylon , send a couple of drones (5-10) to kill it. The less, the better, but also more risky to defend.

For sure this maneuver will hurt your economy, but cannon rush will already hurt your opponent economy.

If you can´t defend the cannon rush before the first cannon is built, I don´t think you should sacrifice drones. Instead, you should go all-in to kill enemy base.

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