ZvZ has quickly become my least favorite matchup as it’s by far the most stressful. You can develop big advantages and disadvantages within the first few minutes in Zergling/Baneling engagements from things as little as looking away to macro and coming back to see a baneling pop in the middle of everything. Personally, my hope is just to get out of the early game not tremendously behind, but that is difficult.
One reason why is that I’ve found that a lot of Zerg are pretty greedy and go hatch first in ZvZ. And at my level, it’s really hard to avoid losing outright to Zergling/Baneling aggresion. I played 3 games at lunchtime, and in both ZvZ games, my opponent went hatch first, so to avoid falling behind with my 14 gas 14 pool opening, I went for it. In both, I managed to kill the hatchery, but the rest unfolded very differently.
In the first, I expended a lot, but managed to destroy his expo. I tried to expand behind it, but I forgot the bit where he needed to build up a lot to fend off my aggression. I wasn’t properly prepared, and he sniped it without me canceling. At that point, I was pretty flustered, fell way behind, and soon lost.
In the second, I managed to destroy his expo, then immediately fell back with my own expo and into a defensive position. He tried to go for a big roach push soon after, but since I was playing defensively (knowing I had my expo up for longer), I fended it off easily and got the win later on.
There were many other lessons along the way, but I was particularly glad to see that I had instantly learned from the previous game and managed to make the adjustment. Hopefully I can keep it up: both today and yesterday, I have played 3 ladder games, going 3-3 over the span of them. I think Day offered the New Year’s Resolution to play 3 ladder games everyday. I laughed it off given my typical schedule, but given how often I peek in to watch a full game on a stream, I probably have the time for it. I’ll of course keep you updated here.