Aggressive Pool First
Aggressive Pool First refers to any build where the Spawning Pool is made before the first Overlord. It includes 5 variations that all end up at at least 10 Drones and 1 Queen for mass Zergling production; the only difference is the timings of the Zerglings and how much economy you will have for the follow-up waves:
- 6 or 7 Pool Cheese
- 8 or 9 Pool Early
- 10 or 11 Pool
To benchmark the different builds, gauge how much money you have for Queen (1), but spend all Larva on Zerglings after the Spawning Pool is complete until the Queen is finished, and the difference in timings is much easier to understand.
6-9 Pools aim to get slow Zerglings into the opposing player base before they finish Walling. 10 or 11 Over-Pools are still early but are more to deny cheese from map control; combined with an early Extractor timing, they make for a fast pressure and map control build.
Basic Build Order
Everybody who plays Ladder will encounter one of those builds sooner or later.
The only key difference in the variations, besides the number of drones and timing of Zerglings, is that a 6 Pool does not allow for an Overlord to be made before the Zerglings are ready.
10 Pool allows you to start your Queen almost immediately after your initial 6 Zerglings are made.
Spawning Pool timings
- 6 Pool finishes Spawning Pool at ~1:49 game time
- 7 Pool finishes Spawning Pool at ~1:57 game time
- 8 Pool finishes Spawning Pool at ~2:04 game time
- 9 Pool finishes Spawning Pool at ~2:10 game time
- 10 Pool finishes Spawning Pool at ~2:18 game time
- 11 Pool finishes Spawning Pool at ~2:26 game time
Essentially, you can add 7 seconds per Drone.
Gas timing is usually delayed until after you have made a Queen and a few Drones, which comes after your initial 8 Zerglings are already out on the field. Metabolic Boost is better timed for earlier than after the Spawning Pool as it takes a long time to finish.
It will also depend on what you want to transition into. For example, if you want to transition into doing Roach Pressure, you will probably make the gas relatively soon after rushing.
If you are using this opening on a 4-player map, then you will need to send out a Drone to scout the other nearby location that your 1st Overlord didn't scout. Send out the drone when the Spawning Pool is ~50% done (earlier on larger maps, later on smaller maps) so that you will know your opponent's location when the Zerglings hatch.
- ZvP and ZvT: The attack will arrive while the opposing player will only have one or two Pylons or Supply Depots; hitting these first will halt unit production or force a worker pull to defend.
- ZvZ: Go straight for the workers; target them individually so the Zerglings do not target opposing army units or defenses. This will produce the most damage. A Baneling Nest or Offensive Spine Crawler rush is highly recommended.
- All matchups: Do not engage all the workers unless you have a larger amount of Zerglings than the enemy has workers or the attack will lose strength very quickly. Focus on your opponent's army units to force a worker pull; wait for reinforcements before attacking the workers directly.
- Roaches or Banelings will do for a strong follow-up but expanding is strong as well as the opposing player cannot have a stronger army than you for some time.
- For the 7pool, instead of getting an Overlord on 8 supply, an extra Drone can be built. The player must then double Extractor Trick shortly before the Spawning Pool is finished, taking the player down to 7 supply (and allowing for 3 pairs of Zerglings to be built). An Overlord should then be built at 12 supply.
The Over-Pool is by definition not an Aggressive Pool First build, since an Overlord is built right before the Spawning Pool is put down. However this build still allows for early lings to be built, and can be considered a balance between the economic strength of Hatchery First builds and the army strength of Aggressive Pool First builds. The goal of this build is to be able to adapt to early aggression, while also giving the possibility of an economically sound mid- to late-game. The early Pool also enables Zerg to punish economically greedy builds. The 11 Overpool version is more economical than the 10 Overpool version.
Spawning Pool timings
- 10 OverPool finishes Spawning Pool at ~2:32 game time
- 11 OverPool finishes Spawning Pool at ~2:38 game time
The best maps for this are 3-player or 4-player maps where a nearby 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.
For 4-player maps, you need to send out a Drone scout before your Spawning Pool finishes, in order to see if the opponent is at the other nearby location.
This build works best against a Forge Fast Expansion opening, which is was considered a standard opening in WoL, but is not anymore in HotS. In HotS a Pylon-Gate-Expand like MSC Expand or YufFE is more common. 6 Pool is often used in lower leagues, though.
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.
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.
Most 2-Player maps do not favor Forge Fast Expansion, and thus Protoss is less likely to choose that opening on 2-Player maps.
Maps that are so big that they give Protoss time to be able to complete his wall before your Zerglings arrive are also bad. 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 6 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.
- Terius(Z) v DREAMAttero(P) on Xel'Naga Caverns - TeamSpeak TL SC2 Open #20 Ro16, Game 1 - Terius goes for 9 pool, but goes all-in and keeps making Zerglings.
- DIMAGA(Z) v Kas(T) on Crevasse - DIMAGA goes for a rare 6 pool against a Terran. Note that Crevasse is probably the biggest map a rush like this is possible on. The initial scouting Overlord scouts the ramp of the adjacent start location just as DIMAGA's Zerglings are approaching the center of the map. In addition, since Crevasse has an extra-wide ramp, Kas doesn't have a wall completed when the Zerglings arrive.
- Zenio(Z) v BoxeR(T) on Backwater Gulch - NASL Season 1, Week 3, Day 5, Match 4, Game 1 - A good example showing why you shouldn't do a fast pool against Terran (especially on a map with a standard-sized ramp). Zenio 7 Pools and pulls Drones for an all-in, but even without scouting Zenio, BoxeR has a wall up when Zenio's units arrive. The game abruptly ends since Zenio cannot do any damage.