Ling/Bane (vs. Protoss)
Ling/Bane is a mid-game strategy and army composition that focuses on the following:
- Getting Melee and Carapace upgrades early and continuing to upgrade into the mid-game and late-game, and focusing on melee-centric units in the mid-game (Zerglings and Banelings) as well as the late-game (Ultralisks and Brood Lords)
- Dropping Banelings onto the Protoss army and in mineral lines to quickly take out large groups of Probes
The build does not rely on Lair units as much as upgrades. There are no Roaches, Hydralisks, or Mutalisks in this build. Instead, the mid-game focuses on Overlord Speed + Overlord Drop, +2 ground upgrades, and Baneling Speed.
Infestors are used after 3 bases have been established.
The goals of this strategy are:
- Do constant economic damage through Baneling drops
- Use Baneling drops to destroy the primary obstacles for Zerglings and Banelings, which are Sentries with Force Field and High Templar with Psionic Storm
- Get to Hive with +2 Melee upgrade and +2 Carapace upgrade, so that you can quickly get fully upgraded melee units.
Basic Build Order
Any opening that gets you to a 2-base economy will work. The most common opening for this is Speedling Expand.
The early 3rd Queen is important to start spreading creep early. You need good creep spread to get a good surround with Zerglings, as well as connecting your bases together with creep in case Protoss goes for air.
If Protoss plays passive and you are able to make a lot of Drones early, get an in-base Hatchery when your Lair is about 50% complete. Since Zerglings are heavy on Larvae but light on resources, you'll need the extra Hatchery to spend your resources efficiently.
You need to scout for a strong anti-melee army from Protoss. Sometimes a Protoss will not get Stalkers or many Sentries and instead go for a Zealot/High Templar/Archon army. If you scout an army like this, you will need to switch away from Zerglings and Banelings and instead get Roaches.
In addition, the timing of your 3rd base will depend on whether or not Protoss is going for a 6 gate attack. If strong pressure comes from Protoss early, you'll need to cancel your 3rd Hatchery.
There is also the possibility that Protoss will get air units. If you see this you need to get a Spore Crawler at every base, and get either Queens or start making a Hydralisk Den and some Hydralisks.
Basic engagement is:
- When you see Protoss moving out, morph as many Banelings as your gas will allow
- As soon as the Banelings hatch, put them all-into Overlords
- When Protoss moves onto your creep, surround with Zerglings while dropping Banelings on his Sentries or Zealots
As soon as you get +2 Melee complete, you should be dropping Banelings in the Protoss mineral lines.
Also you should be constantly harassing and counter-attacking with groups of Zerglings. Upgraded Zerglings are some of the most cost-efficient harass and backstab units there are, so take advantage of them.
Use Zergling drops. 4-6 Overlords full of Zerglings will do a lot of damage and either force Protoss to split their army or pull their entire army back to base so you can attack another expansion.
Once you have 3 bases, you can start adding Infestors. Fungal Growth will prevent units from retreating from your Overlords, letting you drop your Banelings onto their army without losing any units.
The default transition for this build is to get Infestors once you're on 3 bases. However if you scout Protoss switching to a primarily Zealot/High Templar/Archon-based army, you will need to switch to Roaches, and start getting ranged attack upgrades.
Once you take a 4th base, you should be transitioning to Hive. Based on what Protoss is doing when your Hive completes, you can decide whether to get Brood Lords or Ultralisks:
- if Protoss has a Zealot/Templar/Archon-based army, get Brood Lords
- if Protoss has a Stalker/Sentry/Colossus-based army, get Ultralisks
- Day9 TV - Steal This Build! MorroW's ZvP - Day9 goes through 2 ZvPs showing this style, explaining the build, timings, and execution