3 Hatch Hydralisk (vs. Protoss)
The 3 Hatch hydra build is a timing attack meant to hit the Protoss before he has either Zealot speed or Templar tech. The build can be executed off of most common Zerg openings, and is strong on maps with a large choke such as Andromeda, Carthage, and Neo Medusa. This build, like all cheese builds, must not be scouted if it is to work. Zerglings should be placed on the ramp to prevent a probe from sneaking into the base. If there is no ramp, a single sunken colony can be made at your natural. It is crucial to make the Protoss player believe that you are playing standard, so Drone up the natural and use the Hatcheries that aren't in the natural for Hydralisk production.
 Build Order
Note: You can transition into this build off of almost every opening build. This is an example based on the 12 Hatchery opening build.
- 9 - Overlord
- 9 - 3 Drones
- 12 - Hatchery (at natural)
- 11 - Spawning pool
- 10 - 4 Drones
- 14 - Hatchery
- @100% Spawning pool - 4 Zerglings
- 15 Extractor
- 16 - Overlord
- @50 Gas - Hydralisk Den
- @100% Hydralisk Den - Hydralisk speed upgrade, 2nd extractor
- 26 - start massing Hydralisks
- @100% Hydralisk speed upgrade - Hydralisk range upgrade, take 2 Drones of 2nd Extractor
- @90% Hydralisk Range - Move out
Once you reach your opponent's base, snipe Cannons and if Zealots attempt to attack, move out of the range of the Cannons and attack them. Continue to bring in hydralisks from your three hatcheries. Snipe any remaining cannons and victory should be yours. On the other hand, if the Protoss player has 4 cannons or more, the hydra break might fail depending on the placement of the cannons. If the hydra break fails, then you will be behind unless you were able to take down the entirety of the Protoss natural, in which case you'll be ahead. If the Protoss has lost his natural, consolidate your forces and either push up his ramp if he has no troops and no Cannons, or camp at his natural while building up your own economy. Make sure to try and have an overlord nearby, in order to prevent Protoss from deflecting your attack with Dark Templar, and to prevent Dark Templar from sneaking out of his base.
 Target Priorities
Cannons should be prioritized first. Once you kill all the cannons at the Protoss natural, there are a few options on what to attack. If Protoss is using a single pylon at their natural, quickly killing that will prevent the gateway that is there from producing additional zealots. Another choice is to quickly kill the Forge, to prevent the Protoss from placing additional cannons by the workers in their main. Equally as good is killing any/all workers at his natural, and/or the Nexus at his natural.
 Countered By
 Hard Counters
- 4 or more cannons at his natural
 Counter To
 Soft Counters
 Notable Maps
This build is strong on maps with a wide open choke, but weak where Hydralisks have difficulty maneuvering.
- Zero vs Stats on Icarus: The way zero plays this build fools stats into thinking he is playing against a 3hatch lair build, allowing for zero to take stats by surprise. The fact Zero took his third with his third hatch allows him to transition into a relatively stable mid-game.
- S2 vs Stats on Icarus: S2 again tricks stats into believing he is going for a 3hatch lair build. Interestingly S2 uses a heavy force of lings to finish stats off; hydras break the front, then lings rush in.
- Calm vs Free on Alternative: Note that denying the second scout is key for this build to work. A small force of hydras kills the cannons, then lings do the rest.