8 Pool (vs. Protoss)
The 8 Pool is a highly aggressive build that sacrifices economy for units very early on. Unlike its cousin, the 6 Pool, the 8 Pool is not an all-in strategy. With that said, you do need to do damage with your initial rush to draw even. However, this is usually not a problem as the rush is fast enough to reach the Protoss base before the Gateways have finished warping in (assuming a standard 13gate timing). This makes the rush incredibly powerful, and with an appropriate follow up, a lethal weapon in the Zerg arsenal.
The goal is to do enough damage with your initial Zerglings to outright win or do enough damage to transition. While the build is a cheese build, in that it needs to do damage or else you will be behind, it is made to transition into a standard game after the first 6 or 8 Zerglings.
Basic Build Order
The only special scouting would be if you are attempting this build on a large 4-player map. In this case, send out your 8th Drone (after Spawning Pool is started) to scout.
Based on what opening Protoss used, your attack priorities will change.
If Protoss used a Forge Fast Expansion build, your Zerglings will most likely arrive right as the Forge finishes (assuming you know where he is). if your opponent has tried to wall himself in, attack the weakest building to open up the wall.
When Protoss opens with Forge Fast Expansion, the most common response to an 8 pool is to abandon the Pylon and the Forge, and make another Pylon and cannon near the mineral line, to protect the Probes. if your opponent has the Forge, but hasn't put any cannons near it, he is trying to do this. When you see this, you should run your Zerglings into the Protoss base and start trying to kill Probes. If he gets up a Photon Cannon, then at that point you can run the Zerglings back, and kill the Pylon and Forge near his Natural.
If Protoss opens with a more standard 9 Pylon 12 Gateway, try to kill the Pylon powering the Gateway. For the most part, this will come down to Zergling vs. Probe micro.
The most important thing with this is to not lose your Zerglings. Protoss must pull a lot of probes to kill 6-8 Zerglings. If Protoss does not pull enough Probes, kill them. If he does, run around your opponent's base and try to pick off their probes one at a time.
Most of the time you will follow up your initial 8 Zerglings with Drones and transition into a normal game but with an economic advantage if you were able to do damage with your Zerglings. In some situations, based on how much damage you do, you may want to continue making Zerglings, but this is usually not recommended.
If Protoss scouts your Spawning Pool before your opponent has taken his gas, he may try a 2 Gate. If you see 2 Gateways building when your Zerglings arrive, back off, make drones, and get a Queen and Spine Crawler as soon as you can. Soon after, take your gas and make a Roach Warren, then proceed with your build normally.
If Protoss is able to get his wall completed and you were not able to kill any probes, you are very behind and will most likely lose. There is simply no adapting to do at this point, that is the nature of a Cheese build.
The best maps for this are 3-player maps where 1 spawn can be scouted by your first Overlord before you are ready to attack. This minimizes the amount of scouting you need to do, and maximizes the amount of scouting your opponent needs to do. However this build works best against a Forge Fast Expansion opening, so maps where Protoss will usually use this opening are preferred. This really leaves Shakuras Plateau as the only candidate here.
This build can work on 4-player maps, but only under the following conditions:
- Your first Overlord can scout a nearby position before you are ready to attack.
- You send out a drone at 8 supply (after Spawning Pool is started) to scout the other nearby position
2-Player maps are generally not good, since your opponent is guaranteed to scout you before your Spawning Pool completes, and will have plenty of time to prepare. Also, most 2-Player maps do not favor Forge Fast Expansion, and thus Protoss is less likely to choose that opening on 2-Player maps.
In addition, some 4-player maps are so big that your first Overlord cannot scout a nearby location before your Zerglings arrive. Thus you are forced to guess which of the 2 remaining spawns to attack first, which, if you guess wrong, could lose valuable time. Lastly, the map may be so big that Protoss may be able to complete his wall before your Zerglings arrive. The most prominent example of this is Tal'Darim Altar.
- Moon (Z) v HuK(P) on Tal'Darim Altar - DreamHack Summer 2011 Grand Finals, Game 5 - Great example showing why a fast pool build does not work well on Tal'Darim Altar. Moon does a 7 pool, HuK is even in one of the close positions, but HuK is still able to complete his wall with a cannon behind it before the initial Zerglings can destroy the Pylon, and does not even lose a single Probe.
- Nerchio (Z) v White-Ra(P) on Shakuras Plateau - Cynical Brit Invitational Finals, Game 2 - Successful 8 Pool against White-Ra, who opens with Forge Fast Expansion. White-Ra scouts Nerchio's position last, giving him the least amount of time to prepare. Nerchio destroys the forward Pylon, the Forge, and a number of Probes.
- Line(Z) v Yong(P) on Tal'Darim Altar - TeamSpeak TL SC2 Open #17 Quarter Finals, Game 3 - Line goes for a 10 pool, but it fails as Yong has 2 cannons up in time. Note that a failed fast pool like this essentially forces the Zerg to all-in in order to win.