Some background:
As a new zerg player, I've chosen to follow the Staircase method. Step 0 of the Staircase method is to be able to successfully complete the "Creep or Die" arcade map (in "Staircase" mode): in order to complete the map, we must spread creep to 100% of the map while putting down expansion hatcheries and managing injects on all hatcheries.

There is no opponent (either human or AI) and the point is to simply familiarize oneself with basic Zerg macro mechanics. The only way to lose is for any single Queen's energy to go above a pre-determined threshold (my threshold is 70 at the moment).

Where I am at the moment:
I've been able to finish the map (i.e., spread creep to 100% of the Daybreak map) in roughly 30-35 minutes at an energy threshold of 70 with 1 creep queen (or 25 minutes at an energy threshold of 100 with 2 creep queens) but both seem a bit slow, especially given some comments I've seen on other sites with people claiming to be able to do it in 15 minutes.

My question:
What is the most efficient technique for spreading creep (in terms of how to use creep queen and tumor placement to the fullest)? Aspects of technique include: having 1+ dedicated creep-spreading queen, spreading creep tumors in groups of 2+, patterns of creep tumor placement, etc.

There are plenty of Youtube videos and forum threads which discuss these individual aspects of creep spread technique in isolation. However, the point of this question is to understand the technique/combination of techniques which result in spreading creep across the map as quickly as possible.

To that effect, it would be great if answers could include the amount of time that their proposed method would take to complete the "Creep or Die" arcade map in Staircase mode.

A replay says a 1000 words (if not more) so that works too in case that's easier than writing out an explanation.

In order to make this exercise more applicable to actual games, it would be equally helpful to see examples of techniques that rapidly cover 70-80%+ of the map in creep (because, in a game, it's less important to spread creep to every nook and cranny but, rather, to cover key battle-sites/expansions/etc).

  • 3
    I, too, would love to see a replay of someone doing this efficiently. Seeing how things are actually done would be significantly more helpful in improving my zerg play.
    – user66184
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 19:07
  • 1
    Have you checked the replays Battle.net uploads after season ends? There should be a a good Zerg macro match in those.
    – Zerjack
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 21:05
  • 2
    This is a tricky question, because Starcraft 2 is such a complicated game. The most effective technique would be to actively protect your creep tumors, but I'm not sure that that is the best way of winning the game. You could essentially create the best technique, but lose every single game because you are focusing more on spreading creep instead of taking advantage of what your opponent does. Covering the key battle sites will prompt your opponent to kill your tumors, which also goes against your question.
    – FoxMcCloud
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 18:27

1 Answer 1


haha I actually helped jak as he was developing the Staircase, although the creep level is new to me.

First I'd just like to say it really doesn't matter, perfecting creep spread is not going to win you the game, it may help a small amount but as long as you can do it somewhat okay it's probably good enough until Master. I would spend more effort on improving other aspects of your play instead of obsessing over this barely significant aspect of the game.

Now on to your question.

Many people will tell you many different things, what you have to do is find what works best for you. Getting into the habit of a cycle or mental checklist is what you want to do. (you can see Day9's daily's on this). Simply put it is a list of all the things that you need to do and you just keep cycling through it.

For instance:

    You want to make a building, 
    You want to make some units with your larvae,
    You want to inject,
    You want to research some upgrades,
    You want to move your army

So you just keep going through this list doing one thing at a time right. So what you want to do is just incorporate spreading creep into this cycle. After injecting is a good time to do it because you are already handling your queens. So this is how you remember it, every time you inject that means it's time to spread creep.

Spreading creep consists of two parts, using the queen to put a new tumor and spreading existing tumors. Make sure you know where the active tumor is so that you don't spend time looking for it.

Remember that your aim isn't to cover the map as fast as possible, it's to win the game, so sacrificing other things for the benefit of spreading creep will rarely be worth it.

So assuming that you are injecting properly (which is 1000x more important than creep spread) your third queen (your choice though) will likely be your dedicated creep spreader, your first two queens are needed to constantly inject your first two hatcheries. Depending on your timing of hatcheries you may be able to put a tumor down with your second queen before your second hatchery is done.

So just keep injecting and then spreading and putting down more tumors. Once you have a fair number of active tumors you can probably use your creep queen to inject as well, when to do this depends on you and on how many active tumors get killed.

I hope this somewhat helps I'll try and get a replay uploaded for you to watch if you'd like, feel free to ask any further questions and I'll try my best to answer.


After playing this map a bit, I think that the purpose of this map is to increase your apm and to get you used to having many things to do with at a time. In a proper game this will be many different things, but on this map it's the same thing just in several different locations which you have to understand WHEN to check and to keep going around and making sure that all your creeps are putting tumors down and your tumors keep spreading too. Trying to do all this is no doubt quite a strain on a new players apm. I think this map could prove useful in helping a player improve but I wouldn't spend too much time on it.


What's your in game name? You seem like a dedicated player and I wouldn't mind helping you out from time to time if you'd like (although I don't have a whole lot of free time). My ign is Aequitas and number: 362 (NA server)

  • thanks this is helpful. would be great if you wouldn't mind uploading a replay. it doesn't have to be the creep level - would be awesome to be able to see a game where one of the players was particularly good abt spreading creep (relatively speaking) while obviously maintaining the other more important macro stuff (as you say). (totally agree btw that there are far important macro "to-dos", was just curious on this topic in particular after trying out the creep level).
    – iceman
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 3:23
  • So I just played this map, and it wasn't quite what I thought, I thought they would've given you x queens which must be needed to inject and y queens which must be used to creep. On my second try I managed to complete it in 19 minutes (which I know is far from optimal), but I build a queen at 10 supply, just keep spamming queens and hatcheries. This map is useless for learning because theres no way in a normal game would you end up with so many tumors or creep queens. My advice would be to just play normals and focus on creep WHILE doing everything else you need to do.
    – Aequitas
    Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 1:19
  • Sorry for the delayed response (been busy with other stuff this past week). I really appreciate the offer - my game name is Ice and my player code is 1836. I'll add you!
    – iceman
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 22:59
  • I saw your message over battlenet. I have the bad habit of leaving SC2 running in the background when I'm not playing (the luxury of having more RAM than I need). Sorry I missed it! I'll message you next time I see you online.
    – iceman
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 22:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .