Cheese in ZvP
Lately in Zerg vs Protoss we have seen Koreans and Foreigners alike adding more cheese to their playbook in this match-up. Now this might just be because I think Zerg is much stronger in this game prior to the 4th and 5th base while Protoss seems to have a little bit of a stronger late game with Adept/Zealot/DT harass and the sort of mobile death ball of adding a lot of Immortals/Archons/Zealots into their army. Now this army is not completely unbeatable by any means but that is not the point of this guide.
I know I have been a little absent from writing a guide a week (school has been brutal; Senior Year~) but people were asking for a couple more build-centered guides. So here you guys go!
*The star in the maps sections denotes the preferred map to use that specific build on.
3 Hatch Before Pool Speedling All In
- Prion Terraces
- Lerilak Crest*
- Ruins of Seras
- Central Protocol
This is a great build where the protoss has an open natural (Lerilak Crest). While not quite as strong on the other maps (Prion, Ruins, Central), you may find that this is still an option on those maps if you are able to either hide the lings, sell your 3 hatch before pool as legit, or just take advantage of poor building placement.
- 17 Hatchery
- 19 Hatchery
- 19 Gas
- 18 Pool
- @100 Speed + Overlord — Take off 2 drones from gas (leave 1 drone for a potential follow up)
- 3 Queens
- Stop building drones at 22 or 24 (1 on gas, 16 in main, and either 5/7 in Natural)
- Mass Speedlings
Try and get the surround on existing units. Avoid and force the Mothership Core to use the cannon as early as possible. If the player is completely walled off in the front, force the cannon (don’t engage while the pylon is activated) and then continue attacking the wall and massing Lings. Force the Protoss player to mass simcity if need be (if they are building buildings, they are not building probes and units). Force the Protoss player to keep transferring their workers from base to base (this does not let the Protoss player mine which does not allow them to afford units/buildings).
While this build is extremely all in, if you are able to do enough damage but not kill the Protoss player entirely there is some room for a follow up. Some of the more common follow ups I have seen is to use the gas from the 1 Drone mining to get +1 melee and a Bane Nest (don’t get caught off guard by DTs). Of course, once you start producing Drones and transitioning out of the all in, you will need to start fully mining gas again. From here the style of play needs to be very reactionary which will be as difficult as your opponent is skilled.
3 Hatch Speedling/Baneling All In
- Prion Terraces*
- Central Protocol*
- Ruins of Seras
This seems to be the more common build for all of the maps above except Lerilak Crest because of that maps insanely open natural. The reason for this build over the other on these maps is because it adds the ability to bust the wall at the natural with Banelings. A lot of the time, the Protoss player will be walled off when your mass Speedling timing hits from the other build so this bypasses the need to just throw Speedlings at their wall until it breaks.
- 17 Hatchery
- 18 Gas
- 17 Pool
- 20 Hatch
- 19 Overlord
- 2 Queens + @100 Gas — Speed (take 1 Drone off gas)
- Stop Droning at ~22 Drones
- Mass Lings
- @75 Gas — Baneling Nest (get 3 Drones on gas again)
- @100% Baneling Nest — Bust
- Keep Massing Lings
When you are attempting to bust the Protoss’ natural wall, make sure your Banelings are targeting any Pylons in the wall (or units if no Pylons exist). This will not only un-power the buildings in front (which may include a Cyber Core) but it will also disallow the Protoss player to utilize the Pylon Cannon which will strongly the limit the Protoss player’s potential to defend. On maps with the gold base (Central and Prion), make sure you are transferring Drones to the Gold bases upon completion (natural for Prion, third for Central). This will allow you too keep optimal pressure on the Protoss player even though you are on a limited 22 Drones.
I believe this is a much easier build to follow up than the 3 Hatch before Pool build, especially on Prion Terraces, because of the Gold Bases. If you are even unable to do a large amount of damage to mineral lines or tech, you have the potential to maybe come back into the game purely due to the two gold bases on Prion. The chances are less likely on Central (bad map anyway imo) because there is only one gold base and it is extremely far away from your main and natural. What you should be focusing on is again a Speedling Baneling style relying on cost efficiency in your unit trading. You will need to be extremely reactionary, but your focus should be to constantly scout and try and deny the Protoss’ gold base for as long as possible allowing you to come back into the game.
This is probably my favorite cheese out of all of them (except for maybe the Proxy Hatchery build). This is a Roach based cheese that allows you to take advantage of the extremely short rush distances and also take advantage of the fact that it is not surprising to see a pool first build on this map from a Protoss’ point of view. You will always want to have 19 Drones (so replace any used to build any buildings).
- 17 Gas
- 17 Pool
- 17 Hatchery
- 19 Overlord
- 1 Queen + Speed (keep Drones on gas) + 2 Lings (to deny scouting)
- Once the Probe is out of your base (ASAP) throw down the Roach Warren
- Make sure you are at 19 Drones (3 on gas, 16 on Minerals)
- Mass produce Roaches and Lings and rally to opponents Natural
This build has been really successful for me at High Masters → Low GM and it gives you some very quick wins. When you storm the opponents Natural, you are going to need to focus the Pylons down. If the Protoss player immediately uses the Pylon Cannon it is okay to save your initial Roaches/Lings in order to stock up and attack when the ability goes away (or just try moving around it). You will want to focus down any pylons and units as these are the immediate threats to your army.
If you are able to deny the natural expansion, it is kinda possible to follow up since you have Roach tech, but it will be very hard. You will probably need to kill your opponent with this build for your best chance.
1 Base Speedling All In
- Ruins of Seras*
- Lerilak Crest
This build takes advantage of late scouts. That is why this build is the best on Ruins of Seras but still somewhat viable on Lerilak Crest (even though the 3 base Speedling all in is MUCH better on this map). You will do a one base Speedling build that will hopefully catch the Protoss player completely off guard.
- 14 Gas
- 14 Pool
- Extractor Trick for a 15th Drone
- 15 Overlord
- @100 Gas — Speed (take off all Drones)
- Lings + Queen
- 22 Hatchery
- 21 Overlord
- If you get to his base and it looks like it is not going to be an instant win (most likely the case) → 2 Drones back on gas + Evo Chamber
- Drop in main while denying natural expansion
I feel like this build is the least likely to kill the opponent outright. This will require a little bit of multitasking if you decide to go the drop route. You are usually able to follow up this build by denying the natural for a long time while dropping in the main so the Protoss player cannot move out and is constantly having to split their units if they want to take the natural. You can tech to Banelings and +1 melee while possibly taking advantage of dropping Overlords to drop banes in mineral lines. I think if you are able to keep the game very low eco, you should be in a good position. You have the mobility, you have the drop advantage, and you have the splash damage (and upgrade advantage). All of this together plus the fact that this map is huge, should benefit you in the long run.
Proxy Hatch Delight
- Dusk Towers*
- Orbital Shipyard*
This is an EXTREMELY all in build and there is almost never a time where you can macro out of it if it fails. You will be on one base (not including the proxy) and it generally seems that you either crush your opponent your do very little damage.
- Immediately send a Drone to your opponents third (outside their main)
- 17 Hatchery (Proxy at their 3rd location)
- 18 Gas
- 17 Pool
- @2/3 of the Hatchery completing — Send 3 Drones to the proxy Hatchery
- 18 Overlord
- @100% Hatchery — 3 Spine Crawlers at Proxy + 1 Queen at Proxy + Mass Lings
- @100% Queen — Creep Tumor at Proxy
It is important to use your Queen to focus the Mothership Core. Start a second Queen if need be to make sure that you can defend against the Mothership Core. Use your Spine Crawlers to poke away and destroy the wall. This will allow you to flood and hopefully kill your opponent. Make sure you focus the Pylons down as they tend to be the most dangerous thing you can be fighting in this situation.
None, you better win!
Thanks again for reading my guides as always, if you have any questions or want to criticize or leave me feed back, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below! Follow me on here or on Twitch at Twitch.tv/notkeevan.