Analysis on Macro Zerg play

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Analysis on Macro Zerg play

Post  Laggy123 on Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:21 pm

As many have said before Zerg has a weaker late game due to their units compared to the other race's units, I understand this point of view and struggle late game as well so I may be out of place mentioning this but I hope I am somewhat correct. I think the main factor of a weak late game for Zerg is due to the one dimensional play we see from a lot of top players, casual players see professional level Zerg players like IdrA and try to emulate that one dimensional play style. That is where the problem lies I believe, people say that Drone timing is one of the greatest skills for a Zerg player could have but I think it's really striking a balance between aggression and macro.

It is obvious that Zerg has weaker units, they are more expendable since you can regenerate them faster. It's important to take advantage of this by using other race's greatest weakness which is having their units clustered, an example of this would be the synergy that Terran and Protoss units have. Protoss Colossus can't survive alone against Corruptors, where as Stalkers and Sentries can't survive alone against Lings. In Terran's case Marines can't survive alone against Banelings (unless it's MKP) and Tanks can't survive alone against Mutas.


With that established I don't think having a centralized army for Zerg will work you can NOT play Zerg like Protoss and Terran users play there is very few opportunities for waiting for a certain amount of time and then pushing like the other races do. The way I think Zerg should be played is by separating armies so when the units don't have their synergy together and are decentralized you send in the correct unit to take care of what it counters.

Now there are the players that do move every single unit together so they have the synergy 100% of the time, this is the downfall of having a centralized army there is no way to be everywhere at once. If a player does this you can create multiple windows of time for you to attack and cripple the enemy. This is where creativity comes in, where as a one dimensional macro Zerg will just macro till 200 throw food at the enemy and then replenish the type of Zerg I am describing will be doing so many attacks in so many different forms from drops to Nydus to Muta harass to baneling mines to Ling run bys, that the other player is forced to either waste so much time defending that they will be distracted and not notice that they are running out of minerals. If they are solid and know they have to expand then it just creates more windows and more places for the Zerg to attack and more places for the opponent to worry about.

That wraps up how I think Zerg should play. In short what I am describing is an extremely powerful way to play that requires very fast hand speed to be able to macro perfectly while being this aggressive. The downfall of most Zerg players is thinking that macro alone will win games this may be the case in lower leagues, but in higher leagues where their macro is on par or better than yours they have the advantage of having units that are much stronger. So you have to find different ways to play the game. In 3 dimensions Macro Micro and strategy.

Hope this is understandable and sensible!
-Laggy

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Re: Analysis on Macro Zerg play

Post  Laggy123 on Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:44 pm

So here is an example of what I am talking about.


Before I start my attacks I break down the rocks to his expansion on scrap station, once that is done I drop in the back of his base with Roaches so he has to pull back his whole centralized army creating a window of opportunity for me to attack. When he comes I load up into my overlords again and stay near by but out of range while he goes to deal with my Zergling attack. When he gets there his nexus is down I leave with the Lings and attack with the roaches but he has phoenixes. After that I am so far ahead that I kind of give up trying to macro and micro which is something I have to work on.

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Re: Analysis on Macro Zerg play

Post  Laggy123 on Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:45 pm

dl.dropbox.com/u/2324111/Replays/Laggy%20double%20pronged%20attacks.SC2Replay

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Re: Analysis on Macro Zerg play

Post  qxc on Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:46 pm

Can you add the information asked for in the original post?
league and some other stuff.

Also do you play zerg? If so did you attach any replays of said style? If not - could you? I find your analysis to be pretty spot on. There are very few zergs in general (and in particular foreign zergs) who don't play macro style. There isn't really a select or qxc style zerg that I've seen.

Probably the first Z to develop such a style and use it effectively would have an enormous edge until people figured out how to deal with it.

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Re: Analysis on Macro Zerg play

Post  Laggy123 on Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:31 am

Will do I can't edit my posts because I have to use the guest user name thing until the account I made (Laggy) is confirmed and activated by an admin.

Handle: Laggy.707
League: Diamond 2,401 pts

As for the replays I put one up top there that was somewhat alright, but I don't feel I have the skill or practice to show off the style I am talking about I'll keep laddering and trying to focus on making the play style more clear.

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Re: Analysis on Macro Zerg play

Post  Laggy123 on Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:57 am

Oh wow I'm quickly starting to see how valuable the edit button is.

However I forgot to add the link to my B net profile so here it is

us.battle.net/sc2/en/profile/962156/1/Laggy/

And here is the replay I linked before

dl.dropbox.com/u/2324111/Replays/Laggy%20double%20pronged%20attacks.SC2Replay

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Re: Analysis on Macro Zerg play

Post  everyday on Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:46 am

I think this is a pretty good analysis; I think what's also critical is that a commando-style zerg can exploit his mobility advantage much better than a macro, massing zerg. (Mobility advantages usually come in the form of lings and, to a lesser extent, speed roaches--speed roaches don't have much of a general advantage over blink stalkers, hence lesser.)

Another thing is that zerg tend to be outranged, except for narrow timings when there are hydras but no colossi, broods but no blink stalkers, and so forth. The biggest disadvantage to being outranged is that the size of your ball is limited; breaking into two smaller balls minimizes the extent to which being outranged means units aren't firing.

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Re: Analysis on Macro Zerg play

Post  Laggy123 on Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:57 am

The only time that what you are describing comes into play is when there are actually huge battles occurring between both players, the play style that I believe is idealistic is one where you never directly engage the enemy. Where the only times they ever attack you is when they anticipate your harass or catch a few units before you are leaving when they are arriving. Just like how people say ghosts are you can see them from the corner of your eyes but if you look at them directly they disappear.

If played right there is NO unit that is immobile in the Zerg arsenal, if you use them as a ball sure they are immobile. But that is how playing Zerg is not completely correct, you have so many opportunities to make your units move fast. The only time your units shouldn't be flying is if you are using burrowed roaches or ling run bys, other than that your units should either be in overlords flying around the map at high speeds or in a Nydus worm teleporting across the map.

The only limit on mobility is when you are playing Zerg like if you are playing Protoss or Terran,

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Re: Analysis on Macro Zerg play

Post  everyday on Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:59 am

Yeah; I was agreeing with you. Sorry that wasn't clear.

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Re: Analysis on Macro Zerg play

Post  Leargle on Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:54 pm

Have you watched Moon's IEM games? He's the only zerg I've seen consistently using this play style. He did constant drop harass with hydras vs protoss, and it was insane how well it worked. In his games vs Squirtle he sniped several expansions and some tech, which I see as possibly the best solution to protoss playing the death ball style.

I think zerg has massive potential here-- I just got finished watching a game of HayprO vs Tyler where some nydus play turned the tide of the game. Also, I remember Fruitdealer had some great nydus play in one of his GSL matches in the group phase.

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Re: Analysis on Macro Zerg play

Post  Leargle on Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:58 pm

Hey, we had a meeting yesterday and there was some conversation about bringing you in to the main forums. We think you're on the right track, but we need to see a some more of your posts just to be sure. Keep posting/contributing, just wanted to let you know that we've noticed your potential and we'll talk about you for sure in the next call.

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Re: Analysis on Macro Zerg play

Post  Laggy123 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:26 pm

Alright I'll keep posting, glad you liked this analysis! I haven't been posting the last 3 or so days was because the internet went out and I had to call up the ISP to get them to fix it. Any who I'll keep posting for sure!

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ZvT analysis

Post  goswser on Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:37 am

Breaking up your units to harass in multiple places uses apm, and, although we can ignore this to a large extent when theorycrafting, it can be very difficult to keep up with your larva injecting, making units, droning, creep spreading, and overlord positioning, along with controlling xel nagas and keeping tabs on his army comp, upgrades, and size, while also harassing multiple times in many places. For harass to be cost effective, it needs to do more damage then you spend on it. Nyduses are large investments, each costing 100/100, not counting the initial structure's cost. They can also be denied easily if seen, and, while they are incredible if the terran army is out of position, an opponent who is ready for this play/has seen it before can be prepared without slowing his timings. If I, as a zerg player, harass multiple spots at once, and sometimes pick off a depot or so, but every once in a while siege tanks kill a few roaches, its not really a good tradeoff, because, besides the cost being basically even, you are spending apm to do the harass, while he is spending basically none defending it. These harass based plays are incredibly useful, but they should be done in moderation - nyduses are great for surprise, but best when used in moderation. Some harass also good is anything that hits the opponents worker line and/or destroys refineries, because this makes him use more apm, slows his timings, and damages his eco; plus, you can do it quickly, then retreat, whereas if you are killing depots, etc, it takes longer to deal damage.

Other very effective zvt tactics prove underused. For one, mutalisk timing. Many zerg players, upon finishing the spire, pump mutas until they run out of gas, at which point they return to lings or drones. This play has a fatal flaw - it leaves the zerg vulnerable to many timings while he is getting mutas. Mutas serve several purposes; they harass the terran base, they snipe tanks and medivacs, they provide scouting, and they defend drops. There is next to no gain to producing 10 quick mutas over producing 5 quick mutas - both force about the same amount of static defenses, both can kill scvs quickly, and both serve the purpose of destroying medivacs after a drop has been cleared up. Thus, it is more logical in zvt to only make 5-6 mutas when the spire finishes, while getting more lings, banes, and drones. Not only do the extra drones allow the cloud to grow faster than it would if you had been building more mutas at first, but the extra lings and banes you can make forces terran to stay defensive for a longer period.


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Re: Analysis on Macro Zerg play

Post  Laggy123 on Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:57 pm

Breaking up your units to harass in multiple places uses apm, and, although we can ignore this to a large extent when theorycrafting, it can be very difficult to keep up with your larva injecting, making units, droning, creep spreading, and overlord positioning, along with controlling xel nagas and keeping tabs on his army comp, upgrades, and size, while also harassing multiple times in many places.

Well obviously it will take up APM, but that comes with practice when I first began doing this type of aggressive zerg style once the OL drop upgrade was done my minerals would instantly get to like 2k that is where practice comes in. After doing this type of strategy many many games in a row I learned how to macro better and I remembered larva injects creep spreading doesn't matter when you are doing this kind of play since your units are in overlords. As for OL spread and controlling xel nagas, your OLs are used for doing drops so that's irrelevant and while being aggressive the enemy won't push out to take a xel naga why would he need to know what's happening in the map if you're in his base, the reason to get Xel Naga Watchtowers is to know when an attack is coming and army positioning.

Nyduses are large investments, each costing 100/100, not counting the initial structure's cost. They can also be denied easily if seen, and, while they are incredible if the terran army is out of position, an opponent who is ready for this play/has seen it before can be prepared without slowing his timings.

If you can preserve your units well enough there should be no trouble getting 3-4 bases, and even with 2 base Nydus is extremely easy to get. You should never Nydus directly it should be a move that is used during a drop or a poke or even when they attack or even when they don't have vision of some place, You should never use a Nydus as a direct attack without something else going on.

nyduses are great for surprise, but best when used in moderation.

Yes that's a given, there is no reason to make more than 2 at a time.


Some harass also good is anything that hits the opponents worker line and/or destroys refineries, because this makes him use more apm, slows his timings, and damages his eco; plus, you can do it quickly, then retreat, whereas if you are killing depots, etc, it takes longer to deal damage.

That's what I'm saying? And why not do that all game there is no downside to it.



Other very effective zvt tactics prove underused. For one, mutalisk timing. Many zerg players, upon finishing the spire, pump mutas until they run out of gas, at which point they return to lings or drones. This play has a fatal flaw - it leaves the zerg vulnerable to many timings while he is getting mutas. Mutas serve several purposes; they harass the terran base, they snipe tanks and medivacs, they provide scouting, and they defend drops.

I never go roaches in ZvT I only go Muta/Ling/Bling, which is very mobile itself and there's not much to say since it is already standard for obvious reasons.


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Re: Analysis on Macro Zerg play

Post  Vader7 on Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:00 pm

My Thoughts

I believe that a great amount of thought and theory that has be done by people shaping the Zerg metagame has been focused into when is it safe for me to make drones.

This has proven in my practice games with some more aggressive Zergs to be a very one dimensional way to play. A simple and effective way to see another dynamic to future styles is to ask the question that is not asked by the first : when is it safe for me to make units. Many Zergs have treated their hive tech like this in the past and some Zergs have been treating the later parts of their mid game like this (example : 3 or 4 base Zerg vs Terran going ling/bling/muta where the Zerg decides it is time to just mass up and kill him as he hits around 200 food).

I think, far too often, Zergs have looked at the issue of a defensive style vs an offensive style and focused in on ideas of X unit is not made to be used this way or that I need to win the economy war by growing my worker count faster.

My Assertion

A rigorous management of income from resources and your larva production rate can create very unique opportunities. You can use scouting to determine the unit composition desired and then drone up to a point that can support constant production of the composition you desire and use this composition to take control of the game. The only professional level play I have observed that seems to use this idea is JulyZerg's ZvT.

I personally believe that a Zerg style that focuses in on larva production rates and the number of drones needed to support it will slowly emerge and allow zerg players the chance to really take control of some games through aggressive means. The easy comparison is to the brood war styles of ZvP that included 2 or 3 hatch hydra bust or ZvT styles that included 3 Hatch Zerglings.

I have a Zerg practice partner (rated around 3400 masters on the NA server last season [worth noting that he was awful at ZvZ and ZvP so his vs T was a bit better than a 3400 rating]) that pretty much always played styles similar to this in ZvT. He favored

-editing in his build when I get off work-

-editing in a replay example just for completeness sake when I get off work
-

A noteworthy conclusion

If the Zerg metagame shifts to add more of this into its arsenal we will see the resulting overall metagame being kinder to the Zerg race as a whole. Can you imagine the Terran metagame if the standard builds were 1 rax no gas FE in 90% of games? If the 1/1/1 build was introduced in an era that was seeing builds like that as the most common thing it would make the whole race better as a whole. Increasing variety always (well it should at least) have the effect of making every choice slightly stronger than it was when there was less variety due to the fact that the other player has to factor in more possibilities when he is designing his play.

It is worth noting that I believe we are living in this era of Zerg change right now. It also worth noting that this metagame shift has been building up for awhile already. The "econ baneling bust" and JulyZergs current ZvT are preludes or early adaptations of this mode of thinking.




About Me

This is my first post on this forum so I will offer some background. I am Terran player that ended the last season at around 3050 masters with a good 350 or more in my bonus pool. A wrist injury prevented me from really playing all of February and a good part of this month. At the peak of my laddering was around rank 1300 in the NA masters league. I also have an EU account that I played random on and had made it into masters league with.

us.battle.net/sc2/en/profile/551040/1/sTkVADERvii/

I was a member of the clan StratYk before it disbanded. I am currently a member a very small / unkown team that has helped me with some lan fees and with getting my name out for coaching : Team Epidemic.

I will provide a real “application” post in the near future but this topic interested me as my friend and I talk about this very idea on a daily basis and his style reflects that it is completely a fallacy to believe there is only one correct approach to the Zerg race.

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Re: Analysis on Macro Zerg play

Post  Vader7 on Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:09 pm

Oh how I am addicted to edit buttons on forums wow!

Tieing into what laggy is commenting about in his posts I think that Zerg's have focused not just on on massing up one big doom wave (what laggy describes) but they have focused on gearing thier economy only to support one timing in the game.

A combination of what he is refering to where a Zerg player makes use of multipule attack paths or mutlipule attack waves. My friend that I mentioned above does this very idea. Once he starts attacking, he does not stop for a long time. It has amazed me several times what zerglings, roaches, banelings, and sometimes muta or infestors are able to do when they come in waves every 45-60 seconds.

Expect a 3rd post in this topic from me later tonight with an example build and replay of my friend playing a zerg style like this.

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Re: Analysis on Macro Zerg play

Post  Vader7 on Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:54 pm

Well my friend has been mia since end of last month... I sadly cant share his build/replays with this thread.

:<

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Nydus Inclusion

Post  Alive on Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:13 pm

I think that you are definitely on the money regarding the need for zerg to attack from multiple angles, and I think that one way to reduce the APM or micro required could be with an investment in nydus worms. Take shattered temple for example, when zerg is 3 base against a colossus 2 base you can easily do things like set up a nydus in the back of his base at the same time you set one up in the back door third. This allows you to poke in one direction, but forcefields, then move into the back of his main and kill tech structures or workers. There is also a HUGE burden placed on the protoss to have near-perfect unit control. If a zerg has units in your main and you a-move back towards those units your colossi will get there before anything else, and while this sort of attack may only actually be an investment of 200/200 for the zerg, if you can snipe all of his colossus because of poor unit control you win the game.

I suppose my opinion is that because zerg generally can operate with the idea of "I will max roaches", their army can be split in ways that the protoss or terran army cannot be. The important thing to realize though is not that zerg armies are more CE against split up terran or protoss armies, what you are looking to do is bait mistakes out of the opponent because of how their army relies on power units. It is easy for the zerg to split because all of their units are the same, but maintaining the intended unit synergy that protoss and terran rely on is extremely difficult when defending multiple attacks.

APM analysis:

One more nice thing about this strategy is breaking down the APM required for effective execution. Presuming that the zerg player is maxed on one unit (roaches for simplicity), you simply need to cut your army into thirds. Once this is done you drop two nyduses and begin poking at the front. This is not difficult because the group at the front is only trying to essentially patrol, you just want to grab his attention. At this time you need to spike your APM a bit to drop the two nyduses and attack. Now, this process is effectively occurring at time 0 and is relying on a front-loaded APM spike. You as the zerg player are anticipating your need to perform a certain set of actions and are not in crisis mode. The protoss or terran is forced into a position where they are trying to, in a VERY limited time frame, split their army, move their army, and defend attacks. Not only does this pile on-the-fly decision making onto the defender, they have more actions to perform because the zerg has had the luxury of splitting their army and initiating attacks at time 0.

What we can draw from this is that if you believe you have better mechanics than your opponent this strategy can be extremely beneficial because the APM required to hold a multi-pronged attack is significantly greater than the apm required to initiate.

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