LotV Featured Replay of the Week: Snute’s ZvP 3 base Ravager all-in

This week’s featured replay comes from Team Gravity’s Fight Night.


You might be wondering: what type of all-in starts with economic cheese? The type that wants to have a sustained attack as soon as possible, that’s what.

In this game, Snute cuts corners and goes for almost pure Drones for the first 4 minutes of the game. This allows him to get up to 6 Extractors and spread Drones across 3 mineral lines before he lines up his attack. From there, he streams Roaches and Ravagers across the map to bust down walls and forcefields to force his way into the Protoss base.

On the flipside, State played it safe opening Gateway first, then getting his Nexus afterwards. WIth a quick +1 attack, he also gets his 3rd base quickly after scouting Snute’s greedy build, and then into Blink.

When the Ravagers attack, State already has his simcity in place with Gateways clogging up the entry into his 3rd base, so despite being down at times 70 to 15 army supply, Snute has difficulty finding space to push in. State continues to build pylons to power his Gateways and for the Overcharge.

With Blink up, though, State makes a great hold: his 3 base economy (with more Probes than Snute has Drones) allows him to slowly get back into the game while Snute’s slow Roaches walk across the map. The battle continues on for minutes, but State keeps his 3rd base alive and evens the supply count. When the pressure begins to lighten, State is able to push for a 4th base as his minerals begin to run out his in main. When the supplys even up, he traps Snute’s army and pushes across for the win.

You can check out Snute’s build order at http://lotv.spawningtool.com/build/6607/


Featured Replay of the Week: hydra’s Drone Pull v Stardust Cannon Rush

View this replay on Spawning Tool

What do you do if you see a cannon rush? Maybe you cancel that base and go to the 3rd base location instead. Maybe you pull a few workers to try to poke it down in time. Or if you’re hydra, maybe you just pull the boys and go for a worker rush.

hydra goes Pool First against a Forge Fast Expand. His first expansion is to the gold base, but his Drone crosses paths with a scouting Probe. Seeing no natural expansion, the Probe turns around to cannon rush the gold base. Then, hydra pulls all except 3 of his workers with 6 Zerglings in production to go for the all-in.

Note one clever moment when hydra pulls back his Drones to wait for the Zerglings. Perhaps even more importantly, he saw the Probe leave the base, and that Probe could have potentially scouted his Drone rush with enough time wall in. By hiding them in the corner for a few seconds, he keeps the surprise on his side.

One more thing: hydra has his Drone mineral walk into his opponents base. This is quite important as this would allow him to walk past a “hold position” Probe into the base to attack a Photon Cannon. Stardust wasn’t walled in at all.

I wouldn’t recommend this as a planned opening, but keep it in mind as a response to a cannon rush. The game is going to degenerate quickly anyways, and I guarantee that this all-in will be quick.


hydra’s Drone Pull v Stardust Cannon Rush

  • 9 Overlord
  • 15 Spawning Pool
  • 15 Hatchery (he lets it finish)
  • 14 Overlord
  • 14 Zerglings continuously; pull all except 3 workers to slowly bite your opponent to death

Featured Replay of the Week: Snute’s ZvP Zergling Hydralisk Contain

View this replay on Spawning Tool

Group D was the group of death: the reigning SSL Champion (Classic), the reigning GSL Champion (Rain), MVP’s top Protoss player (YongHwa). And Snute came out on top with an aggressive heavy Hydralisk style in ZvP.

Snute opens with a safe 15 Pool, 16 Hatch to avoid a cannon rush and transitions into a relatively normal 3rd base timing around 4:00 and Zergling speed soon after. Around 7 minutes, he goes up to 30 Zerglings to deny Rain’s 3rd base and immediately goes into Hydralisk production. He uses those to destroy the 3rd base again and create a soft contain. The safe opening allows Snute to apply pressure before typically 2 base timings come in from Protoss.

From here, Zerg will typically transition into either Infestors to lock down the Stalkers or more Vipers for the Blinding Cloud, but Snute gets away with building only 2 Vipers. Most of us don’t have army control like Snute, but he pulls it off with smart positioning and baiting forcefields. Keeping the Viper and Infestor count low leaves more gas for Hydralisks.

There are a few caveats to this style. First, this build is likely a response to the prevalence of Blink Stalkers in the current meta. Against a more traditional Colossi army, the mid-game pressure timing is much tighter. This seems like the biggest potential risk to this style

Second, there are different ways to transition. In his other games, Snute also opted for Roach Zergling pressure early on, so there are options for staying aggressive.

Third, Snute delays upgrades for a long time. His first attack/armor upgrade is +1 missiles at 12:00. This might be a risk against a double Forge style with more armor upgrades to buffer against the Hydralisks. To sustain the attack, you probably will need to go up to 4 bases. Snute gets it very late in this game, but you can see other timings in his games against Classic

Fourth, the late-game composition is presumably more flexible for how the Protoss responds. Against High Templar, Snute opted for more Roaches. If he had seen more Colossi, I would guess you would get more Vipers for the Abducts.

So in summary, safe opening + big Speedling attack + mid-game Hydralisk contain = devastated GSL/SSL champions

Check out the rest of this series and Snute’s series against Classic for more games like this http://spawningtool.com/28108/


Snute’s ZvP Zergling Hydralisk Contain

  • 9 Overlord
  • 15 Spawning Pool
  • 16 Hatchery
  • 15 Overlord
  • 15 Queen
  • 17 Zergling x4
  • 21 Extractor, Hatchery, Overlord
  • 29 Overlord, Metabolic Boost
  • ~5:40 Queen x2
  • ~7:00 Lair, Zergling x20/30 (attack the 3rd)
  • 8:00 Extractor x4
  • 8:40 Hydralisk Den
  • 9:20 Grooved Spines, flood Hydralisks

LotV Zerg v Terran by Stephano (featuring Vipers and Hydras)

This morning, I tuned into Stephano streaming Legacy of the Void. Simply, I was blown away. I have watched various streamers over the past 2 weeks, and most of them are still working out through new units and strategies. Even if he hasn’t solidified his builds, Stephano played with the decisiveness in engagements and ease of micro that made him an instant success in Wings of Liberty, and it was a tremendous pleasure to watch. I watched him play 3 ZvT and 1 ZvZ games, so let’s dive into some analysis about what he did.

Stephano (Hydra/Viper) v. Semper (Mech with Banshees) – Link

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My first Legacy of the Void Zerg build order

(Author’s Note: if you are looking for real LotV build orders, check out http://lotv.spawningtool.com, where you can see build orders extracted from beta replays)

This evening, I played my usual Tuesday night StarCraft with my friends, but we changed things up by using the “Legacy of the Void” extension mod to try out the new economy in our 3v3 games. Specifically, it bumped up the starting workers to 12, increased starting supply for the different races, and reduced the resources at each base. A few observations off the bat about what Legacy of the Void (LotV) might look like.

Bases ran out of minerals really quickly. I was scrambling to take extra bases and ended up broke while trying to hold onto my 4th base. That felt chaotic.

Minerals come in so quicklyThe game starts, and it feels like your economy is zooming. It’s only 4 workers away from roughly optimal saturation on your main base, so the emphasis on building workers is diminished. Despite that, you feel like a macro monster because your minerals are climbing so quickly, and you just want to expand.

The aggro starts quickly and hard. Although it feels like you’re ahead because of the strong macro, that also means it’s a lot easier for big pushes to come sooner. You have to get units out quickly.

Given that, I put together what felt like a decent starting point for a Zerg build order.

ZvX 17 Pool Expand

  • 12 0:10 Overlord
  • 17 1:05 Spawning Pool
  • 17 1:40 Hatchery
  • 16 2:10 Queen, 6 Zerglings

This build is relatively straightforward. Start with the Overlord first because if you build a worker first, you will be supply blocked. Crank workers continuously until you get enough minerals banked for a Spawning Pool. Pick up a worker, then save larvae for the 6 Zerglings. Oddly, you actually have enough money to get a Hatchery in-between there. The Zerglings can arrive at your opponents base before 3:30.

This, of course, skips scouting. I think it might be necessary to scout with a starting worker, particularly for 4 player maps. All of the timings are pushed back.

I imagine we will be refining a lot in the coming days, but it’s interesting to see how completely different the threats and timings are. The above build will probably fall out of favor very quickly: it’s easy to defend without sacrificing economy, so it may not be worth getting the Zerglings out so soon. I do think that with so much money, though, it might be worth the earlier Spawning Pool just to get Queens for more spending. We might also see early gases for very fast Zergling Speed.

Anyways, there’s obviously a lot of time ahead, but I thought I would share what I have seen so far. I’m very excited to see how the meta develops!

ZvT win rate v. Mutalisk count

(Originally posted on reddit, also posted to the TL thread)

Following the extensive description of the state of Terranin HotS by TheDwf, TL collected opinions from professionals. Specifically, Snute was interested in “the correlation between Mutalisk count and win rate”. Here’s what I came to.

The data comes from approximately 2100 ZvT games from roughly April 2013 to present on Spawning Tool. The vast majority of replays are from tournament replay packs and should represent high-level play, though other games are not filtered out.

The frequency of counts tails off, and I truncated the data around 50ish since past that, there were fewer than 10 games at each point. The raw data is available here

Looking at the data myself, I’m not seeing a lot. There may be a bump around 16 Mutas, but otherwise, it’s hovering around 50% with some variance due to small sample sizes.

Let me know if there are any other analyses, graphs, or stats that you are curious about, and I will do my best to follow up with those.

Analysis of ByuL’s reactive ZvP in Proleague

Proleague (SPL) is back for 2014. I have become a bit of a StarCraft snob and think that Proleague is by far the most exciting and interesting StarCraft out there. It’s a bummer that they have changed the time this year so that all matches start at 2AM (at the earliest) for me, but I’ll happily follow along with Fantasy Proleague and by watching VODs.

Having just rewritten my Zerg versus Protoss strategy guide, I’m very excited about a game I just watched between IM ByuL and Remember Prime. Played on the new map Sejong Science Base, I think it perfectly illustrates with the type of safe, reactive Zerg style that I had seen before and was recommending for you to try.

Link to the VOD

ByuL opens with a 15 Hatchery, 16 Spawning Pool. He takes his gas at 3:35 (17 supply, after the Overlord), which allows him to get Metabolic Boost for his Zerglings early. He makes 4 Zerglings as soon as the Pool finishes and sends them to scout his opponent.

ByuL Zergling Scout Continue reading

Zerg versus Protoss Strategy Updated

After playing primarily team games with my friends over the past few months, I am getting back into playing 1v1. This time around, I think I’ll be playing Zerg. I admittedly was somewhat lost in how to play out my games, then I remembered that I had a guide on how to do it. Then I read it and realized that some of the strategies were painfully outdated. Here’s an update. As usual, feel free to comment if you have any thoughts or feedback.

Zerg versus Protoss (ZvP)

Since the release of Heart of the Swarm, ZvP has become much more interesting. Previously, Protoss only fast expanded into 2 base timing attacks, but recently, Protoss have mixed in more 1 Gate Expand builds and early pressure. There might also be 2 base all-ins, Stargate openings, or just macro into deathballs. All of this means that Zerg must be more flexible. Continue reading

ZvZ from WCS America Premier League

About a week and a half ago, WCS America season 1 Premier League had a group (stage 2, group C) with 3 Zerg players. With the patch out increasing Spore Crawler damage against Mutalisks, we got to see what ZvZ looks like when you can actually do different things.

Before this balance patch (which doesn’t have its own number, unfortunately), ZvZ was all Mutalisks. Early game was Zergling and Baneling trades, where the defender usually had the advantage. Once it got to Lair, Zergs would invest gas in Mutalisks, and getting the 1st volley or having 1 or 2 more Mutalisks was the difference.

Post-patch ZvZ looks more like WoL ZvZ. The early game is the same, the midgame is mostly Roaches, and then you mix in Hydras or Infestors (and eventually both) until the late game comes late. Most games would be decided around 3 bases in the midgame, however.

So the builds. Unfortunately, the matchups, cheeses, and technical difficulties mean that we have 3 games between Suppy and Revival and only 1 between Revival and Scarlett, but this is a good set of them. All of those are below in long form. Just a few notes ahead of time. I’ll be updating my Zerg strategy guide based on the recent changes to ZvZ, so read that for the bigger picture.

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Updates on my guides

If you haven’t been paying attention to changes on the periphery of this blog, I don’t blame you: it’s really not that interesting.

But what might interest you is the race-specific guides I have been putting together. Most of the interest on this blog has been in getting some basic, generic builds for each race and getting a feel for each matchup. It’s hard to know exactly where I can best help, but I am trying. As such, I have written up guides for Protoss and Zerg that may interest you.

Just a bit of pretext

Protoss Strategy

Zerg Strategy

I previously said I would maintain a few race-specific posts I wrote before, but I think that’s bad publishing practices, so I’ll maintain these pages instead. I’ll post again when I get the Terran one put together, and I’ll also let you know when there are major updates to those pages. In the meantime, feel free to critique and I’ll be maintaining those pages. They’re definitely not complete, but I want to balance completeness with brevity. If you want depth, you’re much better off finding a good tutorial video on YouTube, but I think this is a handy, shorter reference with written build orders.

I hope the guides are useful to you!