Blade's Guide to Zerg vs. Zerg
Zerg versus Zerg is played differently in Heart of the Swarm than it is in Wings of Liberty. This guide will go in-depth on Mutalisks, and how to most effectively use them since they are the primary unit in HotS ZvZ. It will go over situations such as Mutalisk vs Mutalisk and Mutalisk vs Roach/Hydralisk/Infestor.
|Mutalisk Build 15 pool version|
|Mutalisk Build 15 hatch version|
Detailed Explanation of the Build
When doing a Mutalisk build you should start the Lair fairly early. We have observed multiple games of Idra's and found that this build allows Mutalisks to come out early without falling behind economically.
The Spine Crawler is not essential but it will make defense against early aggression much easier. You may skip this if you prefer a greedy style of play.
After you start your third base you should mass-produce Zerglings. Use these to either pressure your opponent's third base or defend your own.
Mutalisk versus Mutalisk
As we mentioned earlier, Mutalisk play is the biggest difference between WoL and HotS ZvZ. Mutalisk battles are standard and you must learn this style of play. Mutalisks gained a speed and health regeneration buff whereas Infestors had their Fungal Growth nerfed. Mutalisks now dominate this match-up.
Winning a Mutalisk war requires good multitasking and general mechanics (injecting and unit production). You should constantly produce Mutalisks while performing multi-pronged attacks.
Attacking the natural and third with Zerglings while attacking another location with Mutalisks is enough to make some opponents fall apart. However, this is a very micro intensive unit composition. Do not engage in a Mutalisk fight unless you know you will win. Be careful at your opponent's third since they will normally have a Spore Crawler with Queen support. Unless you have a huge Mutalisk lead this isn’t safe to attack.
The best way to defend against multiple Zergling run-bys is to make a couple of Banelings at your third and natural. Also build one or two Spine Crawlers at each base.
We do not recommended transitioning out of Mutalisks because you will be very vulnerable for a short time. In fact, you should watch for your opponent to do this then push for the kill, or at least do immense damage. Pay very close attention to your opponent's Mutalisk count, if you suddenly pull far ahead then this indicates a transition. If you don't act on this you could be in trouble.
Taking a fourth base depends on when you have enough economy, or if you have a good lead from an earlier Mutalisk engagement.
Mutalisk versus Roach/Hydralisk/Infestor
This isn’t as common in Heart of the Swarm, but it will happen occasionally. You have two options facing this composition.
The first option is going heavy Mutalisk/Zergling/Baneling into Ultralisks. This is a very strong option because if your opponent attacks too late then your Ultralisks will be out. If not then you need to flank your opponent with Mutalisks. You should also make some Spine Crawlers to help with defense. Make about 16 Mutalisks before starting Hive.
As soon as you scout no Mutalisks you should make two Evolution Chambers and start +1 Carapace and Melee upgrades. Then eventually add Infestors to your Ultralisk/Zergling/Baneling composition. If you get this composition after defending a Roach/Hydralisk/Infestor attack then, blunders notwithstanding, you will win with the better unit composition.
The second option is go into a Roach/Hydralisk/Infestor composition yourself. Build two Evolution Chambers as before but get +1 Ranged/Carapace instead of +1 Melee/Carapace.
It is really up you how you want to fight a player not going Mutalisks.
Defending Roach/Zergling/Baneling Attacks
You will commonly face this attack as it is timed to arrive before your Mutalisks. This can kill you outright if not scouted.
Scout this by constantly sending in Speedlings - three at a time and spread out. Doing this will get you information, such as seeing lots of Zerglings, some Roaches, Spine Crawlers, Evolution Chambers, etc. Sometimes even getting inside the main base and seeing everything. There is no downside to doing this, and you have a much better chance of defending this timing than waiting until he moves out. Your Zerglings may be stopped so you should also scout with Overlords. Check the Drone count and gas timings. If you see a low Drone count and no third and fourth gas then consider this attack a certainty.
To defend you need to make lots of Spine Crawlers and spread them out so that Banelings will not kill eight at time when they detonate. Not spreading them is as bad as not making them.
If you build enough Spine Crawlers and spread them out then you should defend successfully. Your Spire will then finish and you will be far ahead of you opponent who won't yet have a Lair. Take a third base, saturate, use Mutalisks for map control and deny your opponent's third for as long as possible; then kill him with either a Roach timing or Mutalisk/Zergling/Baneling.
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