“I go ultras when I’m really far ahead and I want to lose”
Since FruitDealer in GSL1, ultralisks have been a really sad story for Zerg. I don’t think I’ve ever seriously built them, and I haven’t been impressed with them in pro play. I just caught Jjakji v. Nerchio on Daybreak in the IPL Fight Club (game 5, maybe?), where Nerchio stuck with ling/infestor/ultralisk, and it was very sad.
The commentators really hit the point correctly in that ultralisks don’t work on a map with narrow paths: they block each other too much, and lings can’t slide by either. Jjakji really compounded the problem by building Orbital Commands and PFs everywhere to further constrain movement. Instead, Nerchio had to fight up ramps, through chokes, and into sniping ghosts and the mass of the Terran army.
Another problem I noticed, in this game and the last one on Shattered Temple, was that Jjakji was always retaining his medivac count. When Artosis was streaming and reviewing his play during the holiday season, he really focused on the point of chasing down and killing medivacs after engagements. Marines and marauders are comparatively cheap to medivacs: make Terran players rebuild those medivacs and tighten them up on gas a little bit. It was just sad to see double fungals go off on huge clumps of marines and fail to kill any of them because 8 medivacs were ready to heal them up.
What does give me hope is Zerg using better mobility in these circumstances. One thing Nerchio did really well was small ling counter-attacks and run-bys, and he actually cleared out Jjakji’s buildings in his main. That sort of mobility, from the speed of units, overlord drops, or nydus play, can help Zerg avoid those unfavorable engagements in the middle.
The best inspiration about this type of play comes from Mystic, who pulls Chita in every direction in this ZvP on Metalopolis. He can be everywhere at once, dodging the Protoss death ball and saving units by retreating into Nydus Worms. The game is a little old, but it’s truly phenomenal and was an early inspiration for me on how cool Nydus play can be.
Casted by HD