I'm a SC2 player, who has mainly played team games up to now as Terran. I don't suck completely, but I have huge problems keeping up with my macro when things start to heat up, or while scouting (among other problems).

I want to get better at the game and I have decided to the the following things:

  • Switch to Zerg (I like the macro focus of the race and that you produce out of one building)
  • Work on my macro / mechanics (because that seems to be the most important thing)
  • Start playing 1v1s (because that's the only predictable setting, team games are just crazy!)

In order to do this I'm looking for a build order for Zerg that is considered safe against all races, while not sacrificing economy too much. The build order only has to work in the lower leagues (Bronze-Platinum). I'm aware that there will be a point where doing one build blindly just won't cut it. It should be macro oriented (i.e. no 9 pool or roach rush), because I want something that can grow naturally into proper play as my machanics get better.

My idea is to learn this build order and concentrate on getting my mechanics and macro in order while not having to think about too much about the build order at least in the beginning.

A followup question would be, what possible transitions exist for the suggested build, and what kind of information (from scouting) do I need to make the decision which transition to do.

Any other tips for a beginner Zerg would of course also be appreciated!

I've seen this, but there are too many options in there for me.

  • 1
    I don't know enough about Zerg to answer this fully but Apollo recently posted up a 4-part tutorial series showing him going from Bronze to Platinum as Zerg. He goes over some of the safe builds to use and how to play reactionary. See them here.
    – Mana
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 0:45

3 Answers 3


Ice Fisher by Spanisihwa sounds like the right build for you, it's a worked out Macro/Macro+:

  • It focuses you on building a strong two base economy, thus practicing your macro.

  • Be more dependent on scout information, which is important in 1v1. Know your opponent...

    You need to be aware of this information, it allows you to know when to switch between building drones and building army. Placing some overlords and zerglings near the opponent in the right place to see incoming units is a vital thing, this gives you the right amount of time to produce the right amount of units.

    In the end, you don't want to be over-producing army so that you have more drones for your economy; it takes some time to get it right put it pays off and may make the difference in the long end. A lot of beginning Zerg players don't focus on this aspect, imbalances them resulting in loss.

  • With only a subtle difference against Zerg, the build is safe and isn't dependent on cheese/rush.

  • With macro / economy comes learning to trade-off / adapt to the situation, hence proper play.

  • The defensive / FE approach of this build isn't always appreciated in team games, either your team rushes and you have to go along or they rush your front door and you are incapable of defending from two players simultaneously before your team mates arrive. Locks you to 1v1...

You can continue on this build after Gold / Platinum up to the Grandmasters. The problem lies not with the build, but it lies with execution of the build; don't expect magic to happen from Day 1, a lot of practice lies ahead with any build if you want to get at the highest levels, even when cheesing...

What is this build about?

  • By focusing on minimal defenses (enough to hold off your opponent), you excel in economy.

  • By focusing on minimal early gas, you come out ahead mid game as you take all four extractors.

  • Using static defense as well as queens (handy for early anti-air / creep spread / natural injection) and perhaps some slow zerglings, you make sure that you can hold off a rush at minimal cost.

  • An aggressive Zerg player in the later game; as there is a turning point where it becomes non-feasible to keep playing defensive (Zerg should contain, not be contained), it's important that one focuses on pushing rather than defending. Because of the high influx of minerals and gas, you'll be able to just throw tons of units into your opponents army as well as use nasty tricks to attack the opponent's bases from different sides.

    Consider the time it takes to produce a Terran marine army, now consider the amount of Zerglings you can throw at him if you are on three bases and perhaps also have two macro hatcheries. You'll simply outnumber him... ;)

I'm not going to list the build here, as you need to research this yourself. Looking through the TL thread, watching his gameplay a few times (Day[9] perhaps?) and then go and practice it yourself.

A followup question would be, what possible transitions exist for the suggested build, and what kind of information (from scouting) do I need to make the decision which transition to do.

Working out how to transition out of the build completely depends on the game, a nice thing to do is to keep notes (As simple as Notepad, perhaps Evernote or OneNote; some people even use Excel) in which you list the specific problems you have with your build and figure out what transition works the best against them.

For example: Are enemy infestors a problem? Consider:

  • How did he get to this point in his build? Did I miss an opportunity to scout & stop him earlier?

  • Why don't I have the right units yet to combat this situation? Did he sneak by or were I too late?

And you'll eventually know when to scout that he is going infestors and be ready to transition. As there are a lot of possible transitions, it would be unfeasible to list all possible situations...

As a conclusion, this might not be the most straight-forward build but it'll sure leave you with a good view on economy and macro before starting to work out more towards the micro aspects of the game.

  • 1
    I feel as though this build relies too heavily on garnering information from scouting and reacting properly with your Zerglings to be effective at a low level. It's definitely an awesome build and it's versatile in each matchup, but it's a greedy build that will have difficulty defending against the 1-base all-ins that are so common at a low level of play.
    – Decency
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 12:43
  • @Decency That's a very good point.
    – Wipqozn
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 13:11
  • @Decency: The thing is, you are going to experience that with any ecronomic macro build. If he doesn't want to go into the risky business, your suggested build can be a very good alternative for him and he can still decide where he wants to go to later... Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 13:57
  • I used this build as a part of my travel up to gold. Especially against lower-level people that don't bother scouting or leaving the bounds of their natural, it's the perfect overwhelm build.
    – Ketura
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 16:28
  • @Ketura: Indeed, unless it's a Terran that knows how to do Griffith's 4OC (meaning he expands at the rate of a Zerg and/or uses a lot of MULEs to get a higher economy than yu) you are usually way ahead in economy if they decide to turtle. Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 16:34

I recommend using a Speedling Expand build. It's strong enough early to hold off a 6pool, 2rax, or proxygate strategy but can also get your economy up in time to defend against a 4gate or 3rax. Against Zerg you'll need to do a bit of scouting and get early Roaches if you expect Banelings, but overall I find the build to be very sturdy and let you get to two bases safely.

I also recommend taking a good look at Sheth's Guides for ZvP and ZvT.


Here is an excellent guide from Bronze to Masters with Zerg by FilterStarcraft. He walks you through basically the same BO from Bronze to Masters always focusing on the most important aspects of the current League. The good part is that he gives you benchmarks to see how good you are doing in every single game. These get more and more strict the higher you climb in the ladder. In the later episodes he explains transitions and other stuff to focus on.

Many people claim that this helped them a great deal to improve their game. Here is the original Teamliquid thread. It stats as a Terran guide but includes tutorials for Zerg and Protoss later on too.

Instead of just posting the BO he uses I recommend you to watch these and take notes, as he explains every nuance of his play style.

Here are the important Zerg videos:

Bronze to Masters Zerg Episode 1

Bronze to Masters Zerg Episode 2

Quick Reference Benchmarks

  • 35 Drones (Including ones in production) @6 minutes
  • 55 Drones (Including ones in production) @8 minutes
  • 10 Combined Queen Energy @10 minutes (After next injects for each queen)

Bronze to Masters Zerg Episode 3

Quick Reference Benchmarks

  • 35 Drones (Including ones in production) @6 minutes
  • 60 Drones (Including ones in production) @8 minutes
  • 10 Combined Queen Energy @10 minutes (After next injects for each queen)
  • 4 Queens @ 6:30
  • Lair Started, 2 Evo, Roach Warren Starting @ 7:00
  • 150 Food, +1 +1, Roach Speed @ 11:00

Bronze to Masters Zerg Episode 4

Bronze to Masters Zerg Episode 5 - Adding Late Game Tech

Quick Reference Benchmarks New Marks

  • +1Melee +2 Cap
  • Third As You Start to Make Roaches
  • 12 Minute Decision!!! MAKE IT
  • Keep Attacking, or Throw Down Infestation Pit/Spire/Get Hive/Greater Spire
  • Camp At 150 Supply to Tech
  • 17 Minute Broodlords

Bronze to Masters Zerg Episode 6 - ZvZ Made Zzz

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