Starcraft 2 Zerg Build OrdersIn Starcraft 2, the Zerg has its own unique method for describing build
orders. In particular, Zerg build orders are commonly called a "XX Pool", where XX refers to the
number of drones the Spawning Pool is built at.
For example, a "14 Pool" means that while the 14th Drone is being trained, you will build a Spawning Pool.
Additionally, economic builds (very popular for Zerg in 1v1 games) also note the position of the first
expansion. "XX Pool XX Hatch" means that the Spawning Pool is built first, where "XX Hatch XX Pool" indicates
that the first Zerg structure is actually a second Hatchery.
As a general rule of thumb, the earlier the Spawning Pool is built, the more aggressive the Zerg build order.
Early Pools are used for rushing, whereas late Pools are more economical.
Any Pool built before 10 is a rushing build. It is not optimal and you are banking on being able to do some
damage with your early Zerglings. Any Pool at 14 or later is an economical build. In this situation, the player is
depending on the enemy not rushing. In the long run, this is the most economical build, but it is susceptible to
the Zealot rush.
Below, I will list some common Starcraft 2 Zerg Build orders and when they are best used. I will also include
some common Zergling rush build orders.
14 Pool - This standard Zerg opener is great on 2 player
maps and is my go-to build order in Zerg vs Zerg matches. This build allows you to safely grab your natural or pour
on the aggression early and is great for both ZvT and ZvZ.
15 Hatch / 15 Pool - This is the
current "flavor of the month" build and has been used by many top Zergs lately. It seems to be especially effective
versus Terran and Protoss players. Click the article link for more information on this build.
The riskiest of all is the 6 Pool, which involves building nothing and just harvesting at the start of
the game until you can build a Spawning Pool. While the Spawning Pool is building, you can train 2 more Drones to
get up to 7/10 supplies. As soon as the Spawning Pool is finished, build 3 pairs of Zerglings and send them on the
This strategy is typically reserved for playing as "Random" versus a Terran player. Zerglings can do a lot of
damage versus a Terran player if they can sneak in before the wall is being built.
The reason you want to only use this technique when playing as "Random" is because any decent player will scout
Zerg early, whereas some mid-ranked players will wait a bit to scout versus Random. The 6 Pool also works best on
very small maps, as you need to be able to quickly get your Zerglings in before the Terran player finishes his
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If you manage to get in the Terran player's base before the wall is finished, resist the urge to go for the
minerals. Instead, attack the wall. Kill the Supply Depot to halt the Terran's unit production and then go for the
Barracks. The SCVs should be able to kill all your Zerglings, so avoid them and instead attack the means of
Build more Zerglings while the Terran player is slowed and then send them in to finish the job.
When you see "Overpool" this refers to getting to 10/10 supplies, building an Overlord, and then building a
Spawning Pool. This is a defensive build which is not entirely crippling. It is a good build if the enemy is
rushing; your Queen and first set of Zerglings should be ready by the time the enemy gets to your base.
Note that when I say "rushing", I am referring to some really early pressure such as a Proxy Barracks or
Gateways. You should still be able to go for a fast expand
This is a "balanced" Zerg build order. You get an Overlord at 10/10 supplies and then your Spawning Pool at
13/18 supplies. As far as your next move, it depends if you need defense (more Zerglings) or if you can tech (gas)
or if you want to pull a fast expansion (if the enemy is turtling and teching).
Many more advanced Zerg players actually will almost always take one of the more economical build orders. A 13
Pool will help you out in the lower-ranked leagues since players in those leagues are more predisposed to rushing
This is also useful in Zerg vs Zerg matches, as an early Roach push can punish a Zerg for going for a fast
expansion. You can also use this build to tech into a 1-Base Mutalisk rush as well.
15 Pool / 16 Hatch
This is one of my favorite Zerg build orders, however, it is not for everyone. It is a bit risky and if the
enemy decides to go for a cheesy rush such as an all in Zealot rush, you could be in trouble.
This involves getting a Spawning Pool at 15/18 supplies, building 2 more Drones (you lose a Drone due to
building the Spawning Pool), and then building a Hatchery at your natural expansion. Here is the summary:
10/10 - Overlord
15/18 - Spawning Pool
16/18 - Hatchery
15/18 - Overlord
15/18 - Queen
17/18 - Zergling
This Zergling pair can then be used to scout for a second time or be placed outside the enemy's base to
intercept scouts or spot an army on the offensive. This will give you some time to throw down some Spine Crawlers
if the enemy pushes.
I recommend trying out all of the build orders to figure out which one is the right for you. Be sure to change
your build order based on your enemy's actions, such as by going for the Overpool if the enemy rushes or the 15
Pool / 16 Hatch if your enemy is passive. If you are unsure of where to start, stick with the 13 Pool.
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