Hatchery First

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ZergIcon.pngHatchery First, Double Queen Opening AKA The Ice Fisher Build
Matchups: ZvP, ZvT, ZvZ
Type: opening
Creator: NesTea
Popularized By: Spanishiwa




Overview[edit]

The standard Zerg economic opening that gives two Queens and two Hatcheries in the closest timing, the other side is an economic 15 Pool, 16 Hatchery for a few Zerglings to scout. This build is a carry over from Brood War, an opening that produces a Hatchery as soon as the minerals spike and produce a Spawning Pool straight after.

Though the current defensive or macro style of many Queens and droning to 32 Drones before any Extractors is more recently given to the player Spanishiwa as the style currently is.

The number of Queens can cover a lack of Zerglings and Roaches for the early game and repel pressure, usual 6 Queen opening, to secure Creep spread

Goal[edit]

To build up a two base economy quickly, forgoing any extremely early attack options.

Basic Build Order[edit]

Basic Build
Help icon.png

Notes[edit]

  • One of the first two Queens can be skipped briefly for a Roach Warren rush timing.
  • With no Extractor taken at all this build is a fast Hatchery (3) expand, and is not considered safe against a one basing enemy.
  • Save one Larva at 17 Supply to morph two Zergling eggs as soon as the Spawning Pool completes.
  • In ZvP and ZvZ, drop a Spawning Pool as soon as you are scouted on a four or more player map and do not even bother on a two-player map as that is asking for trouble.

Vs.ZergIcon.png Zerg[edit]

If you do not see a Fast Pool, you can proceed with your Hatchery First opening.

Adaptation[edit]

Once you have started your Hatchery and Spawning Pool, you need to scout your opponent again to see what his initial Tech will be. There are a few possibilities for your opponents opening:

  • 14gas/14pool - this will lead to one of 2 openings:
    • Speedling Expand - if you see this, you should make a few extra Drones (3-5), and get Zergling Speed with your first 100 gas, followed immediately by a Baneling Nest when you get 50 gas. Once you have Speedlings and Banelings you should poke or attack your opponent's base, and see what he has. if your opponent has only Speedlings, you should attack. if your opponent has Speedlings and Banelings, try to do as much damage as you can. if your opponent has Roaches, stop making Banelings, cancel your Baneling Nest if you are able, and make more Drones while getting a Roach Warren and keeping an eye on how many Roaches your opponent has.
    • Early Bust - if you see that Zerg does not take your opponent's drones off of his gas after his Spawning Pool completes, then he is preparing to attack you with Zerglings and Banelings. There are a few ways to respond:
      • Roaches - Make a Roach Warren immediately when your Spawning Pool finishes. Make 4-6 Zerglings, and then save your resources for when the Roach Warren completes, and make 4-5 Roaches immediately when it finishes. If you placed your Roach Warren immediately, then your Roaches should hatch in time to defend against the Banelings.
      • Make Spine Crawlers - Delay your gas and make 1-2 Spine Crawlers and 2 Queens immediately when your Spawning Pool finishes, and keep making Zerglings. Block your ramp with your Queens to prevent a runby, and make sure your Spine Crawlers can cover both your ramp and your Hatchery.
      • Banelings - if you want to defend with Banelings, you'll have to skip Zergling Speed since you cannot get both by the time the attack is ready. Make a Baneling Nest as soon as you get 50 gas, and defend with unupgraded Zerglings and a few Banelings.
  • Hatchery First - if your opponent does the same opening as you, you need to get gas immediately, only make 2 or 4 Zerglings, and immediately get 2 Queens. After this, you can transition to mass Zerglings, Zerglings + Banelings, or Roaches-based on what you scout afterwards.

Vs.TerranIcon.png Terran[edit]

Scouting[edit]

Scouting is critical vs. Terran, since you need to know if Terran is opening with 2 Rax or with Barracks-Refinery. These need to be dealt with in different ways.

You should be scouting around 13 if you know where your opponent is, and on 10 or 11 if you do not (e.g. 4-player maps).

Adaptation[edit]

What you see in Terran's base will determine the rest of your opening:

2 Rax[edit]

2 Rax can come in many forms, and you need to be prepared for all of them.

If you scout 2 Rax, then delay your gas, save your Larvae so that you can make 8 Zerglings immediately when the Spawning Pool finishes, transfer 5-6 Drones to your expansion around the time it finishes, and make a Queen for your expansion Hatchery, and then a second Queen in your main base Hatchery when resources allow. It's also a good idea to leave your scouting Drone near the Terran base or at a Xel'Naga Tower so that you can see ahead of time if Terran is pulling any SCVs for his attack.

You need to be ready to pull your 5-7 Drones at any time to immediately start attacking a Bunker if Terran starts building one. If you see a Marine, do not be afraid to chase it with your Drones; Drones move faster than Marines, so you will be able to get some hits on it and possibly kill it.

  • 1-2 SCVs, 1 Bunker - for this, you simply need to keep the Marines at bay until your Spawning Pool finishes. While you are chasing the Marine, put 1 Drone on the SCV building the Bunker, so you can kill it before the Bunker completes. Make sure to kill the second SCV as well, so that the Bunker cannot complete.
  • 2-4 SCVs, 2 or more Bunkers - this is a bit harder. You need to delay your second Queen for a second Spine Crawler if you see 2 or more Bunkers begin. You'll need all 5-6 of your Drones in addition to your initial 8 Zerglings in order to fend off this attack
  • 5+ SCVs, 2 or more Bunkers - this is more or less all-in. Same as before, but you'll need to pull ALL of your Drones except 2 or 3 to fend off the attack.

Barracks-Refinery[edit]

If you see this, you do not have to prepare for an early attack, however you will need to have Zergling Speed finished in time for Hellions. Take your gas at 15/16/17 supply, make 2-4 Zerglings and 2 Queens immediately when Spawning Pool finishes, and then transition-based on what Tech you see Terran getting.

Vs.ProtossIcon.png Protoss

Outdated.png This section may be outdated due to metagame or patch changes. Help us by revising it.


Scouting[edit]

Opening with Hatchery First is extremely difficult against Protoss. This is due to Protoss being able to easily deny a Hatchery from being completed (or safely killing it after it completes) by placing Pylons and Cannons near your Hatchery. If your opponent makes a Gateway first, he can still make a Forge immediately after, and still make Cannons near your Hatchery while Chrono-boosting Zealots to help with the attack.

However if you decide to try for a Hatchery First build against Protoss, then it's absolutely critical that you see any Probes near your base, and respond to any Photon Cannons being made by immediately pulling Drones to deal with them.

Make sure you put a Drone in any spot where the potential for a Pylon wall exists. If Protoss is able to wall off his Cannons from your units, you will have no way of damaging the Cannons, and they will complete, thus destroying your Hatchery and any units that you can make to defend it.

Adaptation[edit]

It is possible to stay even or be slightly ahead. If Protoss spends a lot of resources in Pylons and Cannons, and they complete before your Hatchery completes, you can cancel your Hatchery and build another one elsewhere. The problem is that your expansion will be far away, and thus you will be extremely vulnerable to Dark Templar and Stargate play, since you will have to make separate defenses for each base, putting you behind economically.

Maps[edit]

Pro features[edit]

Because this build delays army for so long, maps that provide more security to the natural, either via long rush distances or narrow chokes well covered by one Spine Crawler, are better for it.

Con features[edit]

There are some features that make this build extremely disadvantageous. Maps with extremely short rush distances will allow early pressure to hit before your Zerglings are ready. In addition, if the map has a Natural that's extremely far away, it will make it difficult to defend it with Drones before your Spawning Pool completes. Lastly, if the map has a Natural that is wide-open, it makes it hard to defend against 2 Rax.

As of Season 6 all of the maps that are bad for this build have been rotated out, or are no longer used in tournaments.

Vs.ZergIcon.png Zerg[edit]

Specifically against Zerg, maps where the ramp is far away from the Natural (or maps with no ramp) make it hard to defend your Hatchery from an early Ling/Bane attack. This includes:

Vs.ProtossIcon.png Protoss[edit]

Specifically against Protoss, any map where the area behind the Natural's mineral line is constricted is bad, since it allows Protoss to easily wall off the area behind the minerals with Pylons. This includes:

References[edit]

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