About an hour ago, I had a game against a Zerg player. We were both in high silver. When I play against a Zerg, I go FFE almost every single time, and it tends to work out pretty good. The downside to a FFE build is that it does not allow me to put up much pressure, at least early on, so the Zerg has free picks at the map for quite a while. That is what happened that game.

Normally, if I see someone grabbing a third quickly, I roll in and take it out because their army usually is not very strong. The thing is, this Zerg made almost entirely Roaches (sprinkled in some Zerglings) and set up many many Spine Crawlers (like 6 - 10 per expo). When I realized the severity of the situation -- it was 1 expansion vs 4 -- I tried to roll in with a pretty good army to the expansion closest to me, but farthest away from him. I had some Immortals for the Roaches, I had some Zealots for meat shields, and I even had some Archons for support fire. I figured it would be enough to snipe an expansion and the Zerg would rethink his/her intent, but my Zealots were thinned out by the Spines in a couple seconds, and the Immortals + Archons fell to the Roaches really quick without having any Zealots tanking damage. The game kept getting worse and worse because I could not penetrate at all into the Zerg. I got Psi Storm, but that did not help as much as I would have liked to against the Roaches.

I suppose a good response would have been Void Rays, because the Zerg opponent had literally no anti-air besides a couple Spore Crawlers (here and there) and queens. I was reluctant to switch to air because I invested so much into the templars. Eventually, I knew I was way too behind to make a comeback so I just left.

Has anybody experienced a Zerg play like that? It is really a pretty darn scary and overwhelming style that can be very hard to stop. Can anybody give me some advice on how to deal with a situation like this? Thanks!

  • Do you have a replay you could show us?
    – Nick122
    Jun 16, 2012 at 9:09
  • Also, your probably going up against the Stephano build. It involves taking a fast third after the protoss goes fast expo
    – Nick122
    Jun 16, 2012 at 9:10
  • 1
    For people who don't know what FFE is (like me), look at this
    – Justin
    Jun 16, 2012 at 10:26
  • I suggest you look at the supply and resources tab. Chances are he has just better macro than you.
    – ayckoster
    Jun 16, 2012 at 12:20
  • @ayckoster you may be right, but this build is still extremely hard to stop.
    – Nick122
    Jun 16, 2012 at 16:55

1 Answer 1


If the Zerg build you are talking about is the Stephano build, or at least close like it, then this answer should help.

What it is

The stephano build as it is called involves the Zerg player fast expanding to 3 bases total when your opponent sees you with a FFE. The object is to get a clear economic advantage over the protoss because it is said that zerg on the same number of bases as the protoss, will lose. Once the zerg reaches about 8 minutes he will have: 3 Bases fully saturated, roach speed reseraching, ling speed researching/done, +1 Range reseraching. By 11-13 minutes, he will have a maxed out 200/200 roach,ling army headed to your front door. He can constantly stream this in during the attack which makes it very effective.

This build is made for ZvP in which the Protoss is doing a Fast Expand build(generally either Forge Fast Expand or YufFE). It is designed to give the Zerg 3 bases very quickly and safely, while avoiding most Gateway timing attacks. -Liquipedia

How I've seen it stopped

I've been stopped as a Zerg player only a handful of times. This is NOT countered by air. Going for air will take time and my roaches will just kill your buildings before your voids could kill the first 10 roaches or lings. Good unit composition and sentries are the key to stopping this build. If you hold the roaches back with good sentry placement you can get almost free shots at roaches not in groups. You can divide the army and destroy it as it comes in while warping in more troops to deal with the threat. He will eventually have to transition if you come up with enough immortals and stalkers with zealots in the front. Since it is super hard to transition out of this build you will have a good window of time to come in and destroy with archons, zealots, immortals, stalkers, and sentries. He will only still have roach while he is trying to get an Brood Lord army. As for the spine crawlers, its not part of the build. He must have added that in but the basis is still the same, focus fire them quickly if you have a huge problem with that.


Day[9] Daily #472

  • 1
    Thank you for such a complete answer. I'll definitely try this out! Jun 17, 2012 at 23:11
  • If I come across a game where I lost to Protoss, I'll post a replay for you as well.
    – Nick122
    Jun 17, 2012 at 23:27
  • A good answer to a different question, because I seriously doubt you can do Stephano's build in Silver. I mean, it requires perfect injection timing (that's what Day[9] says), something you cannot have if you're struggling in Silver.
    – tharibo
    Jun 18, 2012 at 15:20
  • @tharibo If you are referring to me, I don't recall me ever speaking of being in silver. The build is a very simple one and injection times are important yes, and are not very hard to do. For another thing if you were referring to me, I am in Gold almost to platinum. If you were reffering to his opponent, the same applies. It is not hard for a silver to inject and timings are very easy to make. Its as simple as a build order.
    – Nick122
    Jun 18, 2012 at 21:03
  • Hi Nick, can you please elaborate what is unit composition can stop such stream of roaches? Looks like I was recently killed by such build... and am struggling to understand how to stop it. May be I should not FFE? May be my build was wrong? Please see my topic here: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/173218/…
    – Budda
    Jun 20, 2014 at 5:33

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