I have mixed results when dealing with reapers. What do you guys do to handle them?

I almost always scout them, that is not a problem. My problem is I just don't know how much static defense I should devote to the rush, or even any at all. I feel I go overboard, getting a 2nd queen and 3 spine crawlers which costs 600 minerals. That is a lot early game.

EDIT: The early reaper rush I'm referring to is merely when you have 1 or 2 running around your main.

  • 1
    Are you talking about a single very early reaper, a few early reapers for harassment, a reaper bunker rush, or mass nitro-pack reapers? They all require different responses. Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 18:39

4 Answers 4


Your queen alone can hold off a reaper or two. Speedlings can kill non nitro-pack reapers quite easily. Roaches can...make reapers run away at least, but if the terran player is actually microing your roaches are never getting in range, especially without roach speed which comes way too late to help here. Spine crawlers also deal with small numbers of reapers quite handily.

If it is mass nitro-pack reapers things get trickier. 3 rax - 5 rax mass reaper builds are quite popular in TvZ these days. You will need at least a second queen, if not a third. Creep spread is key for the speed boost it gives your units. You will also almost certainly need roaches. Your best bet is likely going to be the 5 roach rush, roach + creep spread to allow for expansion, defensive roaches into one base muta, or something of that sort. Spine crawlers are less useful as once they have 10 reapers they can one shot them. 6 reapers suffices to take a spine crawler down with no losses.


Watch and learn ;)

  • Wow, talk about grace under fire with that zerg player. I guess the most important lesson facing Reaper rush is "Don't Panic!"
    – JavadocMD
    Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 21:12
  • Yeah.I enjoyed wathing this too :)
    – naugtur
    Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 21:16

How many reapers are we talking? 1 or 2 spine crawlers plus your queen is more than enough to handle a few reapers. Don't engage the reapers with the queen alone, let them come to you and the spine crawlers can back up your queen.

Also spine crawler position is key. Are you protecting your mineral line or something else? Make sure you keep that in mind when you place your spine crawlers. Of course, you can always move them if need be but thats not ideal in a combat situation unless you have another spine crawler to back it up and move 1 at a time.

My opening for Zerg usually consists of getting gas at 10/10 then another drone, overlord, 4 more drones, pool. When the pool is done i have enough minerals/gas to research speedlings and get my queen. I don't build any zerglings except maybe 1 for scouting and watchtower placement so i can see an early rush coming. Then if I do see reapers or an early rush coming i will already have the speed upgrade and I can build the zerglings I need without wasting minerals on units I won't use. This also includes me putting down 1 or 2 spine crawlers when my pool is done and after I've started queen.

  • 14 gas 14 pool will leave you with 100 gas and 250 minerals as your pool pops, which is perfect for getting speed and a queen immediately. You just have to start building that extractor as your 14th drone is morphing and put 3 drones on it as soon as it finishes. (you'll have 400 minerals if you have 3 larvae saved as well). Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 21:25

As a Terran player, if I come across too much opposition when I start the harass I quickly abandon it and transition into longer play. As the harass is not a valid sustainable long game strategy.

So a couple spine crawlers is most likely enough to stop me at least. It all depends on how fast the first wave goes down. If it was effective enough, then I'll consider sending a second larger wave, if they die fast, its time to abandon that thought and try to salvage the econ situation into sustainable play.

Reapers are cheap, but slow to build. so they tie up the barracks for a while, and take a good chunk of time to amass into a large enough force to do considerable damage. They are also weak little sissies, so if you can get some damage on them they die fast.

If you've got enough static defense to stop the harass, a swift counter attack will be very effective. As the player has most likely spent the majority of their time producing reapers, however don't be surprised to see a few marines hanging out.

Also, if reapers exist, Marauders can too, so watch out for that.

Surprise can also be on your side if you catch them mid harass. As the reaper harass is intensive micro, if you want it to be successful. Just make sure you can deal with all of the reapers so that it doesn't become a base destruction race. You will lose that race, since you have no anti air and the Terran can just lift off their stuff.

I've been all over the place, but hopefully this is of some use to you.

  • while you might abandon Reaper Harass, mid-game mass reapers vs Zerg is becoming more and more common (eg. Serens vs Idra in IEM).
    – tzenes
    Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 20:46
  • @tzenes thanks for the heads up, I frequently overlook the reapers as viable past early game, since they are so fragile.
    – jblaske
    Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 21:09
  • I haven't watched the finals yet but here is a good example in the Quarter Finals: tv.esl.eu/de/vod/view/22346
    – tzenes
    Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 21:51

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