LiquidTLO's explosive ZvP - Dealing with Stargate OpenerTue 19th Jun 2012 - 9:07pm Category: Starcraft II
When it comes to the ZvP matchup, things have been a little stale for the swarm. Ilyes “Stephano” Satouri has set the standard, the aggressive speedling and roach maxout off of three base with the transition into infestors and broodlords is what we see nearly game, regardless of how the protoss plays.
However, the player famous for his creativity from TeamLiquid, Dario “TLO” Wünsch, is at it once again in this matchup, and has come up with some strong responses that has become part of his standard play. I’ll be looking at how TLO responds to the common protoss build of Forge Fast Expand into Stargate pressure with a speedling/baneling composition that transitions into infestor and ultralisk, finishing off with broodlords, and how he utilizes the advantages of this composition over speedling/roach.
It's important to note this concept has been around for quite some time, being used in the past by fellow European player Stefan "MorroW" Andersson. Like TLO, MorroW also use to main as a terran player, and these two have both utlized banelings to great effect in ZvP. Both take a little terran mentality into the matchup, and it gives us some interesting results.
The Layout and Early-Game
- Quick 3 Hatchery, 3 Queens, no gas until ~40 drones (6:15 game time) - takes 2 gas
- First 100 gas for speed, then Lair (varies).
- Defensive Roach Warren if Stargate play isn’t coming, double evo chamber quickly
- Additional Queens, Spore Crawlers, and Baneling nest once Stargate is confirmed, 3rd and 4th gases
- Pressure and gain map control
We see current zergs respond to Stargate by still getting a lot of roaches and lings and trying to overwhelm their opponents on multiple fronts. However, Protoss players have been getting much better at utilizing Stargate units to mitigate roach damage significantly.
What units don’t care about void rays and phoenixes as much? Speedlings and banelings.
TLO morphs banelings aggressively as the protoss tries to move out to take his third with his mostly sentry force. In this game he's able to pressure sufficiently enough to take out the opponent's third with only speedlings and a handful of banelings. It's key to note that the less banelings you think you can get away with, the better. This build relies on pooling gas throughout the mid-game for a stronger late-game.
TLO likes to keep up the pressure very high throughout the midgame almost to a fault, much like a terran would do on protoss to prevent them from achieving the perfect late-game scenario. His trades are typically unfavorable, but it's all in the pursuit of better economy, upgrades from his double evo chambers, and teching with minimal spinecrawlers for defense.
Instead of spending all those minerals on spines, he just keeps attacking with lings and a few banes.
This is something you'll see in most of TLO's ZvP games.
Constant drop aggression in the main with lings/banes coupled with a few bane drops at other expansions is dizzying to watch, and TLO typically floats at around 140 supply in this phase of the game. This style seems to be on thin ice because of his low supply (by zerg standards) and low spine crawler count, but it is always forcing the protoss to stay at home and not do a big push, and typically damaging the economy and army.
Not to mention since his entire army is composed of speedlings, any small counterattacks in this phase of the game are shut down very easily.
With good creep spread and sufficient spreading of the speedlings, these little mid-game pokes won't accomplish anything.
All that hard work in the mid-game should start to pay off in this phase of the game. Remember those early double evo chambers? It makes the Ultralisk/Infestor transition much stronger once that quick 3/3 is finished for melee. We've been pooling as much gas as possible, utilizing only a handful of banelings when it was needed for drops and pressure.
The protoss should start moving about with his late-game composition in the middle of the map, but with 3/3 upgraded cracklings, ultralisks, and infestors, engagements should look something like this.
In this particular game, TLO was also able to transition into broodlords after he got his ultralisks up, and ended up crushing the typical protoss late-game compositions with a strong flank.
So that's how it's done. It's a fun, rewarding style that has dipped in and out of popularity, but one that is proving to still be viable. It's also important to note that TLO typically only gets a baneling nest against Stargate openers. However, you can choose to utilize banelings against robotics/sentry pushes through drop aggression, such as Dmytro "DIMAGA" Filipchuk at his recent run through Dreamhack!
- TLO utilizes high-aggression speedling/baneling in the mid-game against the weaker ground defenses of a Stargate opener Protoss to shut down economy.
- With constant aggression through multi-prong drops and minimal gas use, he builds up his upgrades, tech, and economy as greedily as possible.
- His late-game upgraded melee ultralisk, broodlord, infestor army crush to victory.
P.S. - here's a cute little trick that TLO has been utilizing in ZvP with his queens lately:
Once you have Lair, there's a good chance you can send out one of your extra queens to plant creep tumours offensively by having an overlord take a big ol' dump to key locations such as where the protoss will try to take their third, or to the watch towers on Shakuras Plateau in this case.
Be sure to check out TLO on his stream at http://www.twitch.tv/liquidtlo/