How to play a good ZvT


ZvT can be a really… weird match-up. Especially in lower leagues. You have to worry about battlecruiser rushes, hellbat timings, even drops and pushes in places where it’s hard to set up the proper engagement. So hopefully this guide may be of help. I may not be a great zerg player, so keep that in mind.

We will be covering:

  • States of the game
  • Injects
  • Creep Spread
  • Harass
  • Proper Engagements
  • Compositions and Transitions
  • Micro
  • All-ins

Early Game:

The early-state of the game consists of the following:

  • Move your first overlord to the opponent’s natural or second base.
  • Move your second overlord to your natural, when hatchery is halfway or more done, you can move it to opponent’s 3rd base and or moving it to the corner of your opponent’s base to scout at 3:30
  • Zergling runbys
  • Dealing with harassment
  • Scouting the main at 3:30 with overlord
  • Reacting appropriately
  • Spore crawler at 4:30

You also have to worry about:

  • Are you playing standard? Or are you gonna 12 pool into expand for the early queen and pressure. Are you gonna follow up with a cheese or are you going to macro?
  • Do you have enough queens? You need at least 5 queens to deal with hellions and or BC.
  • Are you creep spreading well?
  • Are you injecting well?

You have to take these one step at a time. Zerg has so much multitasking capabilities unlike the other 2 races. Let’s start with the basics…


Injecting is super important. If you are going for a zergling-baneling based composition, you are going to need to be larvae heavy. I inject by setting my base camera to space. Early game, when I hear my “Your queens are ready to inject larvae.” I press F1 or Space, (I use both methods) I click the queen and inject. However, a faster method is hotkeying your inject queens to a control group and using base camera, have all the inject queens selected, and inject. This way you can inject without having to go through the hassle of manually selecting your queen.

Think of a hatchery as a planet and your larvae are inhabitants. The more inhabitants, the better. Injecting is like having your own children and then sending them to child labor because you are a poor family and you need to gain money except instead of you getting money, you will get value out of those units.

So yes, injecting is super important. No injects equals no units… which means you won’t have any units to harass with, fight with, defend with, etc. Your planet is lonely.

Creep Spread:

Creep spread is not something simple to do. You need to build up your muscle memory. Remember, without creep spread, that means there is no speed benefit, and no vision. No vision equals not knowing of upcoming pushes… Not knowing of pushes can lead to your downfall. Zerg is a very information reliant race. You need as much information you can get. This is why we send our overlords around the map. For vision.

To creep spread, what you can do is hotkey your queens to a control group. For instance, I use 3 as my creep spreading queens. I have 2 queens dedicated to creep spreading. Every time I remember, which is often, but not often enough, I press C, and I can use rapid-fire or shift click to lay down creep tumors and or spread them. Try to cover as much ground as possible.

Remember, your goal with creep spread is:

  • Vision
  • Vision
  • Vision
    I can not exaggerate this enough! Vision is super important. So just keep creep spreading. You can deflect hellion harass from killing your tumors by using your queens. You need lots of queens early in the game. For injecting, transfusing, and creep spreading.


Now, as terrans will have to harass you, you will need to harass them. You can’t ever allow your opponent to snowball, because, if you do, you basically lose. Same with terran. Each race is balanced to counter each-other. Zerg has a bit of harass units / capabilities. For instance, you have zergling runbys, baneling runbys, mutalisk harass. Those are the fast units for harassing. I mean you can technically harass with anything :slight_smile: Like sending 2 lurkers to your opponents mineral lines, or attacking in one place and sending 6 zerglings to another base of your opponent to wipe out their economy. Multi-prong basically.

A good way to harass is to rally some zerglings out of your hatchery, right click them near an opponent’s expo and then right click them to your opponents mineral line. That is basic harass and can prevent your unit from snowballing.

TL;DR: Don’t let your opponent grow powerful or you can lose. It goes for both sides, not just you.


Mid game is pretty tricky. It’s when you first unlock your tech options. You can go into a spire, into a hydralisks den, an early infestation pit for early hive, etc.

Usually, zerg players will place their lair tech in their natural. Same with hive tech. It helps burn a scan of a terran trying to see their tech so they can’t call down an extra M.U.L.E

Remember to use your units as effectively as possible, whether that be harassing, or microing during fights.

Proper Engagements and Compositions:

When you are taking an engagement, try mostly to take it on creep. That is where you have your advantage. You have speed, and most importantly, vision. You can see when he/she unsieges tanks, or moves in with marines and clumps them up, etc.

Using these moments to attack is crucial. Try to attack your opponent from multiple times at once. When you do this, your army becomes more efficient and I give you permission to boast, “It’s over Anakin, I have the surround!”

Depending on your enemy’s composition / style can make a major difference in engagements. For instance, do you see mech or bio? If it’s mech, get spine crawlers at each base for those stupid hellion runbys and get more banes then lings, or move on to a roach based composition. If it’s bio, you can go ling bane muta, ling bane hydra, ultra ling bane, etc. YOU MUST COUNTER YOUR OPPONENT. They have liberators? Get corruptors. They have marines? Get banelings. And that list goes on and on.

Basically, have the right composition, and have the good surrounds and harassment to whip your opponent in the bud. (I’m not sure if I used this expression right. Please correct me)


Micro is super important. Whether that be splitting your banes or lings versus widowmines, using your mutalisks to kill scvs using a hit and run approach, etc. that is micro.

Micro when it’s needed. Like when you are a terran, you have to split. When you are a protoss, you need to use sentries for forcefields. If a terran splits his marines, you can also split your banelings to their marines. Remember, 2 banelings kills a marine if they have combat shields. if they don’t have combat shields and they stim, it’ll be 1 baneling.

All ins:

An all in is meant to get damage done, and fast. Zerg has a pretty good majority of all ins, which can range from 1 base roaches, to 3 early roaches in your opponents mineral line, 2b mutalisks, and more. Utilize these properly and try deal as much damage as you can do. Whether it be baneling drops, or microing the roaches back and forth, deal damage! You also have to remember that injecting is the most important when doing all ins, not creep spreading. However, you can drop a tumor to make it seem like you are macroing when in reality it’s the opposite.

Late game:

Late game is tough for terrans and zergs. Sometimes people just want to end it early but it’s up to you to prevent that. Some late game compositions can be broodlord corruptor infestor, ultralisk ling bane, basically, a composition of anything that will wreck your opponent is needed.

Good rules of thumb:

  • Inject whenever you have time
  • Creep spread ASAP
  • Scout efficiently to minimize the chance of falling to cheese
  • Expand early and fast, even when ahead.
  • Don’t always drone, have some units to deal with harass
  • Harass often
  • Mutli prong
  • Make sure those terrans’ get a new diaper replacement.

Anyways, I hope this guide helped. This is a brief summary and again, I’m not that much of an experienced zerg player, so let me know if I’m missing anything and I will possibly add it in. Thanks :slight_smile: I hope this will become a thread where we can post helpful ideas and advice for our fellow zergs.

GL HF :heart: and have fun!


Hello Gra98gra,

Nice Instruction, :white_check_mark:

I would just like to add the note, that the most important is the macro in lower leagues. From Bronze to Gold you only need to train macro (many workers)

Starting in Platin you need a little bit micro (e.g. attack from 2 sides) and scouting, to react with proper units. (e.g. Zergling + Baneling + Hydra vs Terran Bio)

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Zerg is already overpowered against terran. if you’re approximately equal as a player you will win 100% of the time by choosing zerg.

Considering this the zerg forum, I would presume you already picked zerg. Congrats, you’ve won!

ZvT 100% win? How? Terran are crazy strong against Zerg, they a not OP, but the extra range of terran units is very painfully to deal with. All considered I think it’s a hard matchup for Zerg, but balanced enough. I usually have the closest games against Terran, ZvZ as all mirror matches are, it’s chaos and ZvP is straight up lost.

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Ok … so big secret: You need build the expensive /gas-heavy units vs. zerg once you have more than 2 bases.
If you try to win with mass marine/marauder/medivac with less than 6 tanks, you’re gonna lose hard to any t3 zerg with a brain.
And YES, if you don’t try to counter your opponent and just do some brainless stuff with cheap units, ANY race is hard to play.

about ZvP:

2 base allin (no attempt to take a 3rd base by minute 4 - that’s also when you need to scout the main and natural base / suicide an overlord)

  • check for gas in natural (no gas = chargelot allin by minute 5+; maybe with archons or immortals or a few stalkers)
    –> If there are no units and no real tech / looks weird, it’s also a 2 base allin and if it’s a hidden base, just go smash it with that army and expand / build drones.

Vs. late-game protoss (golden armada + high templars + archons + chargelots + DTs + disruptors - some or none of that in any combination)

  • mass spore crawlers + lurkers is really, really good (chargelot runbys especially though you also need spines and a few spores at the outher bases - only 3-4 lurkers will fail vs. a few chargelots and an observer!).
  • Try to have lurker tech before you take your 5th base and remember that injects are more important vs. protoss than vs. terran. (compared to creep)
  • Vipers are awesome vs. mass air units BUT rushing vipers is like skipping banelings in ZvZ: it’s risky.
    Also don’t forget to get a roach warren by minute 4, if you don’t know what’s coming. And don’t forget a baneling nest once you drone up your 3rd base (after the 2-base-allin or because there was none).

Also think about getting burrow instead of overlord speed right after ling speed.
(It’s really annoying for protoss if they need detection to take the 3rd base - especially, if they open up with a stargate.)

Lurker/corruptor/broodlord/viper is pretty good in general.
Just remember to turtle hard and take a lot of bases, if protoss does the same.
(lurkers, spores, creep, corruptor/viper)

Really good protosses will have high templars and archons vs. mass corruptors and tempests vs. the broodlords so try to fly around them and use lurker and/or broodlords to take out the high templars and then viper/corruptor, to “bite” at their army again and again, while you build more and more spore crawlers behind your army.

how to play good zerg vs terran?? choose zerg, look away, let zerg do that rest. zerg is so easy to play vs terran, its like cheating. 1/2 an army on the post match graph will wipe any thing terran has. even if terran has twice the post match graph.

so , chose zerg, look the other way, free unearned win.

So you’re saying that you’re a max d3 terran and never use any mech units (max 5 tanks). Ok.
Yes - then you’re right.
If you use mech units though, it’s the other way around.

P.S.: I very rarely play terran and I can hold out vs. a zerg on my zerg level for a long time with mech.