Stephano late game transition ZvP

Whenever we’re talking about interesting, innovative Zerg play, it always ends up being about Stephano. A lot of that has to do with his success and the desire to emulate his playstyle, but it does often seem like he’s just ahead of the curve. Particularly, he was asked by Nony on the last State of the Game about what problems he had in ZvP, and his answer: none. In fact, he said that Protoss needed a buff. Who else has ever claimed that their own race was imbalanced?

Anyways, there’s a lot of fascination with his play. I just discovered a new blog, Zergology, which has a really good primer on Stephano’s Roach midgame push ZvP. And Day[9] recently had a Daily about Stephano’s late game transition. I’ll reiterate the main points of that, then throw together the build order from it. But really, you should get it straight from the horse’s mouth first and watch the Daily.

In essence, the plan appears to be to get to late game as soon as possible, which is Brood Lord-Infestor-Spine Crawler. To do that, Stephano just drones for the first 8 minutes (while Protoss is hiding behind a FFE), goes relatively Roach-light in the midgame while getting Spines up early, stays with Infestors, then gets Hive just before the Protoss deathball would hit around 17-19 minutes.

Here are the rough build orders from the 3 games that Day[9] showed:

Stephano ZvP Game 1

  • 16/2:00 Spawning Pool
  • 16/3:00 Hatchery
  • 24/4:30 3rd Hatchery
  • 45/6:00 2 Gas
  • 60/7:00 Lair, Evolution Chamber, Roach Warren (in time for 8:00 Warp Gate)
  • 7:30 Zergling Speed
  • 8:15 starts building an army (16 Zerglings, 5 Roaches)
  • 8:30 3rd & 4th Gas, Roach Speed
  • 9:15 4th Hatchery
  • 9:30 Melee attack upgrade
  • 9:45 Spine Crawlers
  • 10:30: Infestation Pit
  • 11:50: Infestors started, last Roaches built
  • 13:00 Spine Crawlers (in time for 17-19 minute deathball)
  • 15:00 Hive, double Spire

Stephano ZvP Game 2

  • 15/2:00 Spawning Pool
  • 16/3:00 Hatchery
  • 24/4:15 3rd Hatchery
  • 54/6:30 triple Gas
  • 7:00 Roach Warren, Evolution Chamber
  • 8:00 Zergling Speed
  • 8:15 4th Hatchery, +1 Melee Attack
  • 9:00 Roach speed, Spore Crawlers, army started
  • 9:15 Infestation Pit
  • 10:00 10+ Spine Crawlers
  • 13:30 Hive, double Spire
  • 15:00 Corruptors

Stephano ZvP Game 3

  • 15/2:00 Spawning Pool
  • 16/2:50 Hatchery
  • 23/4:20 3rd Hatchery
  • 46/6:00 double Gas
  • 63/7:00 Lair, Roach Warren, Evolution Chamber
  • 70/7:30 3rd Gas, Zergling Speed
  • 70/8:00 army started
  • 100/9:00 +1 Melee attack, 2nd Evolution Chamber, 4th Hatchery
  • 9:30 Roach Speed
  • 10:00 Infestation Pit
  • 10:30 4 Spine Crawlers, no more Roaches
  • 12:00 more Spine Crawlers
  • 14:00 Hive

I think smart players would tell you not to worry too much about the exact build orders, but when you don’t have the time to invent and learn these build orders, it can be hard to understand what other players are doing without something concrete, so hopefully it helps you to learn this style.

One caution, though: Stephano did lose 2-1 ZvP to Inori to get knocked out of the MLG Winter Championship earlier today, and Idra promptly beat Inori 2-0 right after that. I didn’t watch the games, but maybe Stephano doesn’t have the matchup perfectly figured out as he thought.

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