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Starcraft 2 Sneaky Zerg Tricks
Using Zerg Units
Zerg Strategy in Starcraft 2 has a lot to do with using units properly to gain yourself strategic and tactical advantages. Here are four major units you can incorporate into your games, and how to use them to best effect.
How to Think About Mutalisks
Mutalisks are both powerful and fragile, and this concept is not something all Zerg players grasp. Mutas are powerful because they are fast, and force your opponent to have defenses everywhere the mutas could strike, which can make him spend a lot of resources on things that can't come attack you ... as long as your Mutas are still alive, and on his mind.
Also, because of the Mutas' ability to bounce attacks from one target to another, once you get a large number of mutas, they become very dangerous to anything that can't chew them up very quickly (like Marines). However, they aren't very tough - and are expensive. If you are going to use them in army-vs-army combat, you need to have a lot of them, and you need to encourage the enemy to shoot at other units first (like Roaches), and you need to engage targets that take advantage of Mutas' ability to hit any unit on the field, regardless of their positioning, front rank or back. This mobility is the reason that Mutalisks are essential against Terran marine-tank armies - the mutas can snipe the tanks at the back (preferably while the whole army is on the move), and once they are gone, banelings and zerglings can clean up the marines.
Zergling Scouts and Burrow
Most Starcraft 2 Zerg players remember to use Zerglings as scouts. They are cheap, they move fast, and even a single one can kill a scouting worker.
The three most important things to scout with Zerglings:
- The front of the enemy base
- The enemy's next most likely expansion location(s)
- The Xel'Naga watch towers
After about the 10-minute mark, it is VERY IMPORTANT to leave at least 1 Zergling at every possible expansion location. If the number of expansions is high, try setting a zergling on patrol between two adjacent expansion locations. The number of times newer players have lost to "hidden expansions" is high, and there's no reason for it, especially as Zerg. You have the cheapest, fastest unit in the game to solve this problem for you. I prefer it even to using Overlords, because Overlords are too slow to escape, easily killed, and if they are killed early in the game, can cause you to be supply blocked, which is very bad.
Burrowing Zergling scouts is the sneaky trick. The trick is to burrow them OFF of creep, because Terran opponents LOVE to use their scans to destroy creep tumors, but they are extremely unlikely to use them on areas without creep, and if you're sneaky when placing burrowed zerglings, they won't even see that small dark spot where the burrowed Zergling lives, and you'll have scouting of that location for the whole game at a cost of 25 minerals.
This trick doesn't mean you shouldn't spread creep, because creep gives your units speed, and a burrowed Zergling's sight range is very limited (just enough to tell you his army is on the move).
Effective Overlord Placement
One of Zerg's strengths in the midgame and onward is their scouting. Much of how this is accomplished is with smart Overlord placement.
On many of the modern maps, there are small raised areas where you can place Overlords such that ground units won't see them without vision from a flying unit.
Other good places for Overlords are splilling creep at your enemy's next most desirable expansion location(s).
You should also get Overlord speed by the midgame, and use it frequently to scout your opponent's base for tech. An early warning of Dark Templar can be game-saving!
Hydralisks: Your Best Friend or Your Worst Choice
Hydralisks are a tough unit to use - they die so easily, and are so slow, but they do so much damage.
The only traditional uses for hydras are against gateway-heavy protoss or to defend against heavy use of air units such as Banshees or Phoenixes. They are also your only recourse in ZvZ if you get behind on the muta count, and you don't have the gas to catch up to your opponent. Yes, you could use queens to defend your base, but what about your army that's on the move?
That said, here's the sneaky hydralisk trick: Use 6-8 of them with Nydus Worms to take out enemy expansions, supply, or workers. Make sure they escape before defenders arrive, because they are expensive in both minerals and gas. Make sure to take some Zerglings with them, and only burrow a few of the Zerglings around the enemy base while the rest run around as a distraction.
Nydus Worms - Abusing Mobility Further
I personally believe that in Starcraft 2, Nydus Worms are a severely underused unit when planning your Zerg Strategies. For a cost of 100 minerals and 100 gas per worm, you get to move your whole ground army to a location anywhere on the map, and then back to your base with the click of a mouse.
Combined with Hydralisks, one of Zerg's most powerful but slow units, extremely devastating strikes can be made against any enemy base. If the enemy starts making fixed defenses against your worm incursion, so much the better - you can move your worms a little further out and continue your reign of terror. Combined with burrowed zerglings scattered all over the map, you can quickly generate a waypoint for all your units. Trapped in your base, or afraid of forcefields trapping your reinforcements in your base? Nydus worm!
The only limit of a Nydus Canal is that it can only build one new Nydus worm at a time. TWO Nydus canals thus gives you the possibility of "hiding" one Nydus Worm within the sound of another (since the Nydus Worm's appearance is broadcast via sound to your opponent as well - very much like "Nuclear Launch Detected").
Another very sneaky trick is to retreat via the Nydus Worm once enemy defenders show up... but leave a few burrowed units behind. Remember to burrow them before you even start attacking, so the enemy doesn't see them burrow! This trick will allow you to re-Nydus in the same place if the enemy doesn't have detectors nearby, and a burrowed Infestor or three could also really ruin your opponent's day later... especially when you distract him with combat or another Nydus raid elsewhere on the map.
My Starcraft 2 Blog
- Learning Starcraft 2 Strategy
Starcraft 2 Strategy from the point of view of an average player. Zerg strategies, Protoss Strategies, Terran Strategies, 1v1 tips, 2v2 tips, experiences on the ladder, etc.
Important Zerg Articles
- Starcraft 2 tips and articles | The Raa Media
One of the most comprehensive sets of ZvX articles. Leave yourself some time to read these, and keep in mind that they are only accurate to patch 1.3, but will give you an in-depth look at all match-ups, and builds and defense against each.
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Starcraft 2 - Wings of Liberty
This game is the first in a 3-part series. The single-player campaign is fantastic, with tons of extras you don't see if the multiplayer. The multiplayer itself is free - you just register for a battle.net account, and after a few placement matches, you can play against people your own skill level.