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Starcraft 2 ZvZ 8 Pool Spinecrawler Rush

Updated on July 30, 2012

Zerg vs Zerg Rush

The 8-pool is a nasty rush on its own, but this build, used exclusively in ZvZ, has the attacking player build a Spine Crawler on the edge of his opponent's creep, which he then protects with early Zerglings so that the defender cannot just kill his Spinecrawler with Drones while it's morphing.

Why would you want to do this build? Well, first of all, it can be pretty fun - there's nothing like throwing a wrench into someone's plans once in a while. Second, you can often beat higher-level players than you if they don't scout and see this coming. Third, in a tournament or multi-game setting against the same opponent, it's good to mix it up with something unexpected once in awhile...

8 Pool Build Order

The 8-Pool Build order is very simple:

  • Build Drones until 8 supply
  • Save minerals until you can build a Spawning Pool
  • Build Drones until you have 9
  • Build an Overlord
  • Save larvae such that you have 3 available (and 150 minerals) when you Pool finishes
  • Send a Drone to your opponent's base and start a Spinecrawler on the edge of his creep
  • Build 3 sets of Zerglings, rallied to your Spinecrawler
  • Overlord at 15-16 supply
  • Continue producing Lings, rallied to his base

Video of Spinecrawler Rush

Transitioning out of the 8-Pool

Normally, you won't transition out of this build. Either it will work, and you will win at Starcraft 2, or it will fail horribly, and you will be rightfully defeated for your Zerg cheese.

However, there are a few situations where you might want to, or will be forced to, transition from this build:

  1. You kill a lot of Drones, but he finally builds enough Zerglings to hold you off, but you hold off the counterattack, and it's a stalemate.
  2. You kill most of his Drones, but you lose a bunch to his counterattack before you can fend him off. The game basically starts again as you both rebuild.

Notice I don't say "you fail to kill very many of his drones, so you go back home and rebuild". If this is the case, "gg" out of the game, and try it again in another game. By nature, this hyper-aggressive Zerg build puts you SO far behind that you are unlikely to come back from a failed rush - that's just the way it is, so don't waste your time continuing the game unless you are WAY better than your opponent (in which case, why are you cheesing him in the first place, unless you want him to quit playing Starcraft?).

Defending Against an 8-Pool

Your main defenses against this build are:

  • scouting with your 9th or 10th worker.
  • build your Spawning Pool BEHIND your minerals instead of Hatch-side

If you see an early pool by your opponent, throw down your own pool ASAP, and you'll hold the rush quite easily, because you can reinforce faster than he can, and you can build a defensive Spinecrawler (which you should - out of range of his). The second easy defense is to build your pool BEHIND your minerals, rather than on the hatch-side, because offensive spinecrawlers will then be able to easily hit your Spawning Pool, and you are dead if it is destroyed.

If you DON'T spot it in time, it's still possible to hold off the rush if you spot the Spinecrawler before it finishes - Drones are actually quite good versus Zerglings when they outnumber them, so pull all but 6 of your drones and attack his Spinecrawler and/or Zerglings. Not all of your Drones can attack a Spinecrawler at one time anyway, and 4 Drones are enough to kill a just-started Spinecrawler before it morphs.

The reason you don't want to pull ALL your Drones is that you still need enough income to build a Spinecrawler and continued Zerglings when your pool finishes, or else you will eventually get swarmed under by enemy Zerglings. Also - your opponent doesn't have very many drones mining, so your income should be similar to his, but your reinforcements are closer, and you have more Drones (at least initially) to use as defenders.

If you micro is especially good, you can send the damaged Drones back to mining to save them - but I would focus more on preventing the Spinecrawler from finishing, while not losing too many Drones to the Zerglings.

One trick I've found useful if your opponent continues the attack, wave after wave, and you don't seem to be breaking the stalemate, is to send 2 Zerglings into his base - with his low Drone count, he will have few Drones to defend with, and will likely have set his rally point to your base, meaning that all his Zerglings will simply walk by yours, and he'll have to deal with Zerglings in HIS base. If he doesn't notice, or he reacts poorly, you will annihilate his Drones, and his attack will dry up. If he does notice, and holds some Zerglings back to defend, you will get a little bit of time to get your own Spinecrawler up, which should stop his attack cold.


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    • northernwriter profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      I believe the video I linked actually DOES show 3 spines being built - and you're correct - it's a powerful variant. However, if you happen to go against a 10-pool or some such and your rush is somehow defended, it IS possible to transition if you managed to build a queen back home, but if you invest in only Spinecrawlers, and he manages to counter-spinecrawler or has especially good Spawning Pool placement, you don't have any transition. Mind you, this build IS considered to be all-in, so the three-spine rush is probably a better variant. I also tend to prefer mobile units (Zerglings) to additional spines, but that's really up to the player.

    • Sc2Strategy profile image


      6 years ago

      I found that seven pool rush with 3 spine rush is more effective. After you buil your 6 zergling you save 300 min for 3 spines, and when your army and drones arrive you will have excatly 300 min, and most of the time he can not kill every 3 spines of yours.

    • BraidedZero profile image

      James Robertson 

      6 years ago from Texas

      I personally play as Protoss most of the time but I'm always down with learning the starting builds of other players. This looks like it's a diabolical build order. I like it. Voted up. Awesome. Useful.


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