My guide on how to play TvZ (Maybe beginner friendly?)


So… Terran V.S Zerg | (I want this to be a thread where we can all help each-other and share information regarding TvZ) This match-up could be very tricky for terrans anywhere. To help you, I am creating this guide that might be able to assist your matches and thinking towards this specific match-up.


In this guide, we will be going over:

  • Harassment
  • Expanding
  • Creep Denial
  • Overlord Scouting
  • Setting up an engagement.
  • Scouting
  • Snowball effect
  • Runbys
  • Macro
  • Transitions
  • Cheese, also known as, all ins


When using your early reaper to harass, what do you go for? What is your goal? Well, your goal should be to kill a drone. If the zerg builds a spore to try to prevent you from killing it, bring your reaper to the drone as if they are touching, to prevent it from building. You can also try to snipe some lings. In fact, you should try to snipe a creep tumor that the queen just started pooping.

When harassing you always need to conserve the units. Lets say I had 8 hellions. I would use those hellions to constantly kill creep using scans.
If possible, try to snipe drones or lings, maybe even a queen. Sniping queens can disrupt injects or creep spread by a massive amount. If zerg had no creep spread, then they wouldn’t be able to see upcoming pushes and have a speed advantage.

Zerg is very reliant on vision and information, so by destroying that, you are making them blind and weak.

But, we forgot one thing. What about overlords? Well, to kill those overlords, you can make 1 viking from a starport and shift + A click it around the map.

So, as we’ve said before, no creep and no overlords equals no vision for our sad drinking, soon to be drunk, zerg friend, which will make our pushes so much easier to execute. :slight_smile:

If I felt super behind in that situation, I’d immediately run 4 hellions into the main, and 4 into the natural, and kill as much drones as I can or I can return my hellions home and keep them to defend from runbys.


Now, expanding… This could be pretty tricky. Any base that is hard to defend which is mostly the bases after the 3rd, should be a planetary to deflect runbys and defend from attacks.

You should expand when you have EXCESS money and you KNOW it’s SAFE.

Some extra orbitals wouldn’t hurt for mules and scans but make sure they are protected and never use orbitals for expanding after your 3rd.

Setting up Engagements:

As a terran, you should NEVER fight on CREEP. Be patient. Fighting on it makes splitting harder and it makes defender’s advantage really come into play.

Sieging some tanks or widowmines that are protected from mutalisks or vipers by protecting marines play a huge deal in this fight.

If a zerg fights into this, their army will suffer hard.

  • Presplit marines
  • Have some marines that will be protected by the tanks and or mines be attacking your target which should be a BASE
  • The zerg will try to set up a surround on you so be careful and prepared. Fight in chokes.
  • Be sure to multi-prong during these fights. If a zerg has mutalisks, don’t risk doing medivac drops.
  • Be sure to Macro well during these fights.
  • Keep clearing creep


In my personal experiences, scouting with an SCV has saved me a bunch of times. The truth is, if you don’t scout with an SCV, you won’t be able to see if it’s a pool first, if it’s a roach all in, if it’s a macro build, etc.

How I scout in my games is that I send my SCV that built my barracks to the zerg opponent’s natural. If I see that the hatchery is not close to finishing, it is probably a pool first into an expand so I know to keep my reaper at home. I will check for gasses and try to see if there is a roach warren. If I see a roach warren, I will immediately build a bunker at my natural and use my reaper to kill incoming zerglings. If there is 2 gasses, it is most likely a ravager push.

Instead of a tank, it is better to get a cyclone as 3 ravager biles will kill a tank instantley. Keep in mind, you must know if the zerg is fully committing to this push or not. Use your reaper to scout for a 3rd base, and see incoming tech.

But… what if the hatchery finishes by the time my SCV gets there, you may ask. You shouldn’t be worried. It is safe to bring your reaper. Bring your SCV to the zerg’s 3rd base and block it to delay the 3rd expansion. You can use your reaper to deny a drone trying to take the 3rd.

Later in the game, probably at 5:00, check for tech, like Evolution Chambers, Hydralisks, Banelings, Lurker Den, Mutalisks, etc. and react appropriately.

Snowball Effect:

The Snowball Effect is when you let your opponent grow big. To prevent this. As we’ve said, just harass and snipe bases frequently. Sniping DRONES will also do the trick. DELAY bases and DON’T let them GROW. This is very important!


Zerg can throw runbys at you to distract you and deal damage to economy.
To deal with these destructive runbys you can have a bunker at your 3rd filled with marines to bring the zerglings to the bunker. You should also move your scvs to a previous base. so no serious damage gets done.

But… they also have baneling runbys that deal so much damage! You NEED to PAY ATTENTION to the MINIMAP and RUN your SCVs to a PREVIOUS BASE.


A transition is basically a follow-up from something. For instance, if I built one army of marines, now I would transition towards battlecruisers.

In a TvZ, you almost never want to go battlecruisers unless it’s a fast cheeky all in. A good all in that includes a battlecruiser is Dolan’s build, go check it out below after you finish reading this.*

Lots of people have trouble transitioning from one state of the game to the other. For instance, I’ve read on a post that someone is having trouble facing Ultra ling bane. Usually what terrans go for early game to mid-game is marine tank medivac. This is perfectly viable except that zerg will most likely go towards lurkers and go into hive. This is why you have to transition. Tanks are a good counter towards lurkers but zerg could just go into vipers. Ghosts counter vipers so you transition into them and use their EMPs and Snipes on the viper. They abduct? You’ll land the snipe anyway(I am not sure, this is what other people have told me. I’ve been trying to test it but the servers are currently down) To counter ling bane, you have to pre-split or just split fast. Tanks and ghosts and OR liberators can help kill the ultras.

Basically, TL;DR Don’t forget upgrades, make sure to transition to other units to counter your zerg opponent, and split, be aggressive, and don’t let them expand.

Macro / All-ins:

Now macro builds can be aggressive or passive. It can be mech or bio, even skyterran. However, the builds must be able to prevent snowballing. All ins can also help but make sure they really put some pressure. Make sure they at least are able to snipe the 3rd in which all these builds are capable of.

I have 7 builds I like versus zerg.

  • 2-1-1 Hellbat timing all in (ZombieGrub)
  • 2-1-1 Macro opener
  • 3-1-1 into 5-1-1 macro
  • A mech opener from BeastyQT
  • The brick from uThermal
  • Hellbat timing from BeastyQT
  • A BC hellbat all in from Dolan :smiley: He is so underrated.

I’ve used all their builds in my TvZ matches and they all work. I will leave links for these builds if you are interested in them.




I hope this guide helped you, and if you want anything added in here, I might add in your advice if it helps, even if it helps slightly.

I would request feedback :slight_smile: Thank you for reading, let me know if this helped.


I forgot to write about transitions and counters, so I’ll add it in the guide in an hour. My fingers are killing me.

Also, should I do a guide on TvT or TvP? Let me know.

Edit: For those who need it, do you need a guide on how to use bio versus x?

I was a Player between 30-33% win rate against Zerg, a lot of those concepts I just never thought about that, The Snow Ball concept is maybe the strongest point in this guide, beside the Creep delay.

I got good tools like a pretty good marine split and multidrop skill and yet, I was always overwhelmed by numbers of Zerglings, Banelings and armies that simply outnumbered me not only in number but in technology as well. My mistake: take a 4th or 5th and make a good defense.

My focus was wrong: I should to get enough resources and expos for the trades so at the end I can win by attrition.

WRONG that is exactly what the zerg wants, because this way he can exploit his advantages, let me saturate my hatcheries, research my technologies and have my larva ready to throw my army of 200 at your head and replace it in 1 minute. As you can see, this approach rarely worked.

Now just by change the focus to 6 Hellion and a Raven Oppener and rid the Creep after the reaper my win rate almost went up to 40%, of course after this guide.

I don´t kill a single drone in early unless the zerg gets stunned and gifts me free access to his 3rd for free and save my hellions and raven, this Raven just need be near to clean creep and sometime in mid-late game Just land some Defense Break missiles to the main army, saving my energy for mules and making non-stop Marines in my Barracs.

Hey gra98gra,

thank you very much for your effort!

In addition:

If you are a beginner, you should focus on the mental checklist 95%. (build SCVs, * SCVs (just build them non-stop without thinking until you have 80-90 and you may never abandon that rule unless your are at least diamond 1. Always have 1-2 SCVs in your building queue.)

  • marines (always build them if you don’t have to build SCVs or supply depots)
  • tanks (always build them if you have enough gas)
  • 5-8 medivacs (replace them if you lose them!)
  • after that you can build vikings (you get them faster) non-stop or battle cruisers (way more army value / more versatile / also way more expensive)
  • supply:
  • try to always be 10-ish supply ahead
  • once on 2+ bases, have your SCVs be idle after building a depot and have 1 SCV per mining base constantly building depots. So if you have an idle SCV, blindly build a depot unless you know better.
  • Check your upgrades and get them (1-1 at 2-base saturation, 2-2 at 3-base saturation and 3-3 at 4-base saturation).

  • Instead of marine/tank, you can also go for hellion / cyclone into battle cruisers.
    (expensive but strong hit and run army)

  • Always expand when you have overmins:
  • 500 overmins: build a depot and a barracks
  • 1,000 overmins: build a depot, a barracks and a command center
  • more than 1k overmins: DON’T get there! Pull back and macro!
  • Gas: 1 gas after 16 workers, not more! (1 gas per 19 workers). Once you hit 200 supply, you can take more gas for BCs and thors. (Battle Cruiser, Thor, Hellbat should beat every army more or less) and don’t forget to build more Command Centers for scans and mules as well as more production facilities (even when you can’t build more units). (whenever you have some space somewhere)