Starcraft 2: Scouting the Zerg Cheese

written by Zoltan

Scouting as a zerg player is one of the most unique approaches in Starcraft 2 strategies. Just as the other 2 races, it is possible to scout the strategy of a zerg player, although you will be looking for drastically different things from the other races. This is only going to focus on tier one and a little bit of tier 2 zerg, as there is simply too much to cover in one article, however learning these will help you stop the swarm in its tracks.

Scouting the cheese:

Top Starcraft II Strategy GuideZerg only has one true cheese strategy; 6 (or 7) pool. This means they will not be building any workers after the first, and immediately starting their spawning pool to rush you with zerglings. Scouting this is easy, however it requires you to send a worker early.

I would only recommend scouting for a 6 pool early on 2 player maps, as most players will not attempt this on a 4 player map. Send your 7th worker to scout, and if you see a spawning pool ½ or 1/3 complete, you know you are in for a short game.

As Terran, the solution is simple. Simply wall off your base and repair the wall once the zerglings get there. One marine will be enough to whittle down the zerglings, and then your economic advantage will carry you the rest of the way. Things are a little more tricky as Protoss. However you can find great strategies for Protoss vs Zerg here.

Are they going for a fast expo?

Zerg has a tendency to be extremely greedy, especially at higher levels of play. Many Zerg players will build a 2nd hatchery even before they begin their spawning pools. If you scout this (known as 15 hatch), this is your queue to get aggressive. Don’t over-extend yourself, however, because if he manages to defend his base, he will have 2 hatcheries to build zerglings / roaches out of to push back at you.

As a Terran player, you will not be able to out expand a zerg here, so an aggressive move with reapers and marauders is the smart play. As a protoss, a 2 gate push can almost always overcome a fast expo, and lead to a fast victory.

An unchecked fast expansion means that the zerg player will quickly leap ahead in economy, and it is very difficult to gain ground on an expanding zerg. Being aggressive when you see a fast expo works double duty as well. If the zerg is spending all his/her larvae on fighting units, there will be no new workers to saturate his new expo, allowing you to maintain the lead in the economic battle, even if you are unable to destroy the expansion completely.

What if they stayed on one base?

Do not underestimate the power of 1 base zerg play, as it can be just as deadly as the other races. A 1 base zerg is difficult to scout as protoss, as they will almost certainly have a detector by the time you have an observer.

Fortunately for you, a combination of zealots and stalkers will do well against almost any 1 base zerg force. As terran, you have access to scanner sweeps, which should reveal all of the zerg’s tech buildings. If you see a spire, missile turrets, thors and marines are your weapons of choice. If you see a hydralisk den, Siege tanks are the way to go, backed up by marines.

Spotting specific one base builds:

There are 3 one base builds that are currently very popular among diamond level zerg players.

  • 2 Hatch speedling: This is probably the most obvious of the 3, as it is the only one that requires a 2nd hatchery to be built in base. Other key things to note is there will be an extractor going up at 13 drones, and a spawning pool when his count again reaches 13.
  • 5 Roach Rush: This build is very difficult to scout. It looks just like 1 base speedling/muta until the roach warren goes up. A good zerg player will deny your scouting of this by using his zerglings. Terran players should not hesitate to scan the zerg base if your scouting is denied. Protoss players can prepare for both builds by simply building stalkers.
  • 1 Base speedling/muta: An extractor will go up before the pool, and a 2nd extractor will go down at the same time as lair tech begins. Those are your key markers for the speedling/muta build.

Joana's Legendary Starcraft 2 Strategies

Scouting your own base:

It is VERY important to have vision over your entire base once you suspect your zerg opponent is tier 2. Nydus worms come out of seemingly nowhere, and you must be able to spot them in your base to avoid an awkward defeat. If you see a nydus worm start to build in your base, and you have no combat units near by, send workers to attack the worm.

Its low hit points will allow even your workers to kill it before it finishes as long as you spot it early enough. With this new knowledge on Starcraft 2 strategy, you should be able to fend off any Zerg rushes. So now that you’re able to go into mid-game, what do you do next? Click here to find out.

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