Summary of Apollo’s Zerg Tutorials REVAMPED

A year and a half ago, Apollo (AKA dApollo back then) posted the Working up from Bronze League tutorial videos, which I previously covered. A few months ago, he posted an updated version of “Tutorials REVAMPED” for changes in the game over that year. Although the game has changed again with the release of HotS, his style and basic builds are still sound. Since I have been focusing a lot on openings recently, I thought I would post  the build orders he’s using, his thoughts on reacting to various things, and how these might have changed with the release of HotS.

Zerg versus Protoss (or Random)

Let’s start with the basic build:

Apollo’s standard ZvP (Oct 2012)

  • 9 Overlord (to natural)
  • 12th Drone Scout
  • 15 Spawning Pool (for cannon rush)
  • 15 Hatchery (send @ 200 mins)
  • 14 Queen
  • 16 Zergling x2
  • 18 Overlord
  • 4:20 3rd Hatchery
  • 6:00 Extractor x2 (scout for natural gas)
  • 7:00 Roach, Evolution Chamber, Extractor x2
  • +1 Missile Attack, Lair
  • Macro Hatchery

A few notes here:

  1. Your first Overlord goes to scout and should hang out for future scouting.
  2. The Overlord on 9 goes to the natural to watch for a cannon rush.
  3. 12th Drone scouts means that 1 of the 2 Drones you build after your Overlord finishes should scout
  4. Apollo goes Pool first so that he isn’t screwed by a Pylon block, but if you don’t see a Probe scout, you can go Hatch first if you want
  5. If you get Pylon blocked at your natural, build your 3rd Overlord immediately, then move to build your first expansion at your 3rd base instead. Also bring an Overlord in case of a cannon rush there
  6. If you don’t see a fast expand from the Protoss when you scout, then you don’t need to get your third. As usual, stay 1 base ahead of your opponent
  7. If your opponent does cannon rush you, you can delay the 6:00 and 7:00 timings by maybe 30 seconds
  8. At 6:00, send the waiting Overlord in to look for Assimilators at the natural. If any are taken, then they are teching, not all-in.

Overall, this build is still mostly valid against Protoss in HotS as well. A few thoughts on this:

  1. The new, early threat from Protoss in HotS is the Mothership Core. Because it is an air unit, have a Queen at all bases and target it as necessary
  2. Protoss may also be more willing to poke early because the MsC can Recall the units out. As such, be prepared for light pressure, but don’t freak out
  3. There will probably be more Stargate openings from Protoss since that is also now a viable midgame strategy (and because people like new, shiny things).

Zerg versus Terran

Apollo’s ZvT is a little squishier, mainly because he’s much more reactive here, but the basic idea is Hatchery first and 4 Queens:

Apollo’s standard ZvT (Oct 2012)

  • 9 Overlord (to natural)
  • 12th Drone scout
  • 15 Hatchery
  • 15 Spawning Pool
  • 16 Overlord
  • 17 Queen
  • 19 Queen
  • Zerglings if you need them
  • Queen
  • 4:00 Gas
  • Queen
  • 5:30 Zergling Speed
  • 8:00 Evolution Chamber x2, Assimilator x2

Since this one is less-defined, let me explain more:

  1. The Overlord on 9 goes to the natural to watch for Bunker rushes.
  2. The Drone scout looks around for proxy 2 Rax. If you see it in time, go for the Spawning Pool
  3. 4 Queens is important because the primary threats from Terran are Hellions and Banshees, both of which Queens can deal with effectively
  4. If you see Terran go CC first, you can open 3 Hatch (like in ZvP) to stay one base ahead.

The openings here have changed more significantly with HotS. Specifically,

  1. Fear the Reaper! Apollo was worried about 2 Rax; you should worry about Reaper openings. Because Reapers are so dang fast, Terran players are more likely to build the Barracks at their ramp and race the Reaper across, so just scout for that. If you see an early Refinery, you should prepare yourself for Reapers. 
  2. Given the early Reaper play, I’m a fan of earlier gas, similar to what IdrA does. He sandwiches it around 18 supply when you’re waiting on Overlords.
  3. Also be careful of Widow Mines. They’re scary, and Terran players may use them to block your 3rd base. I’m not sure whether this requires a reaction, but just be aware.

Zerg versus Zerg

The build:

Apollo’s Standard, Safe ZvZ (Oct 2012)

  • 9 Overlord (scout)
  • 12th Drone Scout
  • 15 Spawning Pool
  • 15 Hatchery
  • 14 Queen
  • 16 Zergling x2 (can be Drones if you see no threat)
  • 18 Overlord
  • 18 Gas (can delay if they haven’t taken gas)
  • 19 Queen
  • 22 Queen
  • 25 Overlord
  • ~4:40-5:00 Zergling Speed (or @100 gas)
  • Baneling Nest at Natural (or @ next 50 gas)
  • Spine Crawler (if you feel threatened)
  • Lair (when you have the gas)
  • 6:30 – 7:15 rest of your gases
  • Roach Warren
  • Evo Chamber
  • 10:00 3rd base

Again, some notes:

  1. Unlike the other matchups, you can send all of your Overlords out to scout. Specifically, you should form a line of Overlords between your bases since Zerg can’t shoot them down early
  2. After you get your Baneling Nest, the rest is somewhat flexible, and what’s above is a rough guide. Apollo isn’t very aggressive with his Zerglings, but if they are, you should have an Overlord outside their base to see it coming, and you can morph Banelings for defense
  3. Apollo does mention that he himself is willing to go Hatchery first, but probably just because he’s a boss at StarCraft. Pool first is safer since Zergling rushes do happen.

Fortunately, HotS hasn’t really changed ZvZ openings much. The important thing to note is that currently, midgame ZvZ is all about Mutalisks. Now that Mutalisks are faster (and Fungal Growth is a projectile, and therefore harder to land), the midgame is just having a better Mutalisk count and destroying your opponent. As such, you should get gas earlier since that is the limiting factor in your Mutalisk count.


You should watch Apollo because he teaches solid, clean play. I don’t blame you if you don’t want to watch 4 hours of him playing your race (or 12 if you play Random), but at least watch one or two openings so you can see the mechanics and style that he plays. His Zerg play is reactive, not proactive, and he relies on good scouting and clean macro to win games. His thought process explains how pros often seem psychic by just being aware, so don’t shy away from his WoL content. It’s still good.

6 thoughts on “Summary of Apollo’s Zerg Tutorials REVAMPED

  1. Thank you very much for this!

    Silght correction, Apollo (Revamped) always says 14 pool 14 gas, never the later 15, 15. Just a slight typo, you can correct it. He has mentions in one of his parts that you could go 15, 15, for a safe build, but its not advisable until you get to higher leagues and to stick to 14, 14.

    • Thanks for the reply. In the first video (, he actually does build it on 15 supply. I think the part where he says 14 is that it’s the 14th drone that builds the Spawning Tool. It’s been awhile since I have watched these videos, but I think I watched the whole series, and this is the build that he uses the most since it’s geared towards newer players. Do you have a link to where he advises and uses 14/14?

      • Thanks for clarifying this. I checked again, and what he means is 15 / 15 but you take your scouting drone which leaves 14 in your base… and so on. That’s how the mathematics works out.

        • Ah, got it. I’m glad we got the numbers to line up here. Thanks again for taking the time to respond and double-check my work here. Let me know if you see anything else awry!

  2. Thank you once again, Kevin, for such an excellent sumary of Apollo’s Zerg Revamped videos.

    Does anyone know when his next up-to-date series of tutorials for Zerg will be launched to the web?

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