Zerg Macro Strategy
Learning how to expertly Zerg macro is undoubtedly one of the most challenging aspects of Starcraft 2. Zerg micro and macro is considered by many to be the toughest in the game, but also the most rewarding if you can stick with it. The reason Zerg macro skills is so difficult is because it is so fundamentally different than Protoss and Terran macro. With the other races, your main economic constraint is with resource generation – the number of Mineral patches you can find and mine. With the Zerg, the main constraint is the number of Hatcheries you have. For an amazing guidebook that shows you every game winning strategy from start to finish, pick up a copy of this guide:
Zerg Macro Strategy – Overview
Playing the Zerg race well means mastering macro, since a great Zerg macro player can dominate the other opponents, particularly if you can manage 3-4 hatcheries and can get to the late game (around 12 minutes) with a decent economy (check out Zerg build order strategies here). Because the Zerg produce all their units out of one building, they can tech switch instantly. If you can master the Larvae injection mechanism (shown below), then the massive amount of units you can produce in combination with the instant tech switch is unbeatable.
Zerg Macro Strategy – Expand Early
The Zerg excel at resource gathering and producing units as compared to the Protoss and Terran races. This should be taken advantage of by expanding your base early, so you can generate even more units and resources from the start of the game. Since Protoss and Terran late game units are really tough for the Zerg to beat – the key is to expand early and harass them enough so they can’t get to the late game. Another key consideration of expanding early is that if you create another Hatchery, you sacrifice your Lair upgrade and won’t have anti-air support. Therefore you really must harass your enemy in order to survive this strategy until you can upgrade a Lair. However, if you are able to successfully expand early and then upgrade your Lair, you’ll have much stronger resource gathering and unit production abilities, which will go a long way to ensuring victory.
Zerg Macro Strategy – Multiple Creep Tumors
Creep offers so many benefits to Zerg that it really is one of the keys to victory. Besides the fact that your buildings need it to survive, it increases the speed of your units by anywhere from 30% – 170% (for the Queen) and therefore gives you a huge advantage in battles on Creep. Make sure whenever you build structures, that they have at least two different sources of Creep so that if one is destroyed your buildings don’t die with it. Use multiple Creep Tumors when you can, since they expand significantly faster than one. This is a great strategy to employ when trying to repair damage done by your enemy after an attack.
Zerg Macro Strategy – Hotkey for the Larvae Inject
A huge part of a winning Zerg macro strategy is to have the Queen Inject Larvae. Personally, during some intense combat I’ve forgotten to do this or haven’t had time to look at my base, and have come up with a simple strategy to do it easily.
I make sure to put all my queens in a single hotkey, like 4. When I need the injection, I hit the hotkey, then press “R” to Inject Larvae. I use the minimap to click on my hatchery. Repeat these steps on all my hatcheries.
You can also hotkey your queens together with your hatches, hit R to Inject Larvae, and then clicking your hatcheries in the unit selection bar – this will give the same result.
Zerg Macro Strategy – Spawn Larvae
One key strategy that will help is to grab a timer, set it to ring every 40 seconds, and cast Spawn Larvae when it rings. As a Zerg, you must master this mechanic in order to macro an army well.
Zerg Macro Strategy – Generating Units
Once you master the Spawn Larvae mechanic, focus on making units as fast as possible while keeping minerals and gas at around 100. Making the most efficient use of cash is crucial. Don’t both with micro until you master this. Once you are good at Spawning Larvae and keeping your minerals low, you can try some Zerg micro strategies.
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