EG IdrA’s Heart of the Swarm (HotS) Zerg build orders

(Update: check out my updated guide for playing Zerg for the maintained version of this post)

I watched IdrA’s stream from about 1 till 3 last night (my copy of HotS is being shipped). And I saw he was streaming again today while he was at work. Now, I’m home from work, and he’s still streaming. I think he’s pretty excited about the game.

This is great news for Zerg players everywhere, because IdrA is a great person to learn from. He commentates on his stream, generally does the same builds over and over, and plays relatively safely (greedy, but safely). He’s also pretty entertaining as long as you’re not to annoyed by his attitude. As such, I took the opportunity to copy down a few builds he’s doing.

Zerg Versus Protoss

First up are his ZvP builds. I think there are a lot of Protoss players on the ladder right now, at least from the sample I saw him play last night. Grubby and WhiteRa made it look good during the launch party, I guess. Anyways, IdrA uses a pretty normal 3 Hatch gasless build against Protoss (I wrote about Stephano’s ZvP awhile ago with this opening). The big difference in the early game in this matchup is the Mothership Core, and as long as you’re diligent about building Queens (at least for 4 for 3 bases), you should be okay. Or at least IdrA thinks so.

IdrA’s ZvP 3 Hatch

  • 9 Overlord
  • 15 Hatchery
  • 16 Spawning Pool
  • 18 Overlord
  •  Queen, Queen
  • Pair of Zerglings
  • 26 Hatchery (4:30ish)
  • 7:20 Lair, Evolution Chamber, Roach Warren

He also was also using a Speedling opening, which is kind of interesting. The early gas and speed definitely threatens the Protoss, and if they overreact, great. If they don’t react much, so be it: you have Speedlings and can punish them if they’re being too greedy.

IdrA’s ZvP 3 Hatch Speedling

  • 9 Overlord
  • 15 Hatchery
  • 16 Spawning Pool
  • 16 Extractor
  • 17 Overlord
  • 18 Queen
  • 20 Zergling
  • 22 Queen
  • 26ish Zergling Speed (out of gas)
  • 27 3rd Hatchery (4:45 – 5:00)
  • 27 Overlord
  • 3rd Queen
  • 6:00 back in gas, 2nd gas
  • 7:00 3rd gas, Lair, Roach Warren

From this, you have at least the usual options from Wings of Liberty (Infestors, mass Mutalisks, tech to Brood Lords, etc). One new thing is Roach-Hydralisk-Viper. Roach-Hydra-Corruptor was old school ZvP when Zergs though the matchup was impossible but couldn’t think of anything better. Instead of using mass Corruptors, this build goes for a fast Hive to get 3-4 Vipers. The hope is to engage before the Protoss player gets too many Colossi and use abduct to pick off the ones that they do have.

Zerg Versus Terran

In ZvT, the new thing to watch for is Reapers and Widow Mines, both of which can make an appearance early game. To ready yourself for Reapers, you can get early gas for Speedlings and go from there. Sorry this isn’t so detailed.

IdrA’s ZvT gas opening

  • 15 Hatchery
  • 16 Pool
  • 15 Extractor
  • 18 Overlord
  • Queen, Queen
  • 6 Zerglings (somewhere in there)
  • 5:45 2nd and 3rd gas

I’m not entirely sure what the best way to deal with Widow Mines is yet, but I’ll update if I see something good. IdrA was not dealing with them well using Muta Ling, so at least probably not that.

IdrA is also using a 3 Hatch opening against Terran, presumably, if he doesn’t feel threatened early. I might write that up as well.

You can also go Roach-Hydra-Viper in ZvT as well because Blinding Cloud is extremely powerful against Bio and Mech. Abduct single Siege Tanks and Blinding Cloud clumps of them for great effect.

Zerg Versus Zerg

In ZvZ, IdrA asserts that it’s basically all about Mutalisks: whoever has more wins, and to do that, you need your gas before your opponent. I thought, however, that his opening was particularly interesting. Specifically, everything feels late to me, but having watched him defend a 6 Pool with this build, I believe it works.

IdrA’s ZvZ Mutalisks

  • 9 Overlord
  • 15 Hatchery
  • 17 Spawning Pool
  • 17 Extractor
  • 17 Overlord
  • Zergling Speed with the first 100 gas
  • Baneling Nest with the next 50 gas

I’ll be maintaining this post as well as I watch more IdrA and converge on some core builds. It’s possible that things will change quickly as HotS is figured out over the next few weeks. If so, you might see a few updates. Also feel free to give me feedback on anything I got wrong or could clarify.

5 thoughts on “EG IdrA’s Heart of the Swarm (HotS) Zerg build orders

  1. Yo gj on the build orders minor typo:
    27 3rd Hatchery (4:475 – 5:00) think you mean 4:45? its under
    IdrA’s ZvP 3 Hatch Speedling

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