Aggressive Roach Ravager Opening in ZvT
Zerg vs Terran is a match-up which has received a breath of fresh air in Legacy of the Void, with a lot more compositions currently being viable than the good old Ling-Bane-Mutalisk. One of the compositions that has seen a lot of success so far has been the Roach-Ravager style of play, a style which Solar showed the true strength of when he won the ShoutCraft Invitational II.
This build looks at a Roach-Ravager opening which skips early upgrades in order to create a more aggressive timing in the game. The build brings you out transitioning into extra drones, a fourth base and your 1-1 upgrades. The beauty of the build is that it's very simple to change based on what you scout - so if you can see early on that there will be Banshee play or Siege Tanks then you can abort from the aggressive side of this build and add on earlier upgrades and a fourth base and begin preparing for the later game immediately.
This build order is meant to be used as a guideline for your game play. It is up to you to learn how to adapt in the game in certain situations. The build assumes drone production unless noted otherwise and does not state overlord timings to keep things tidy.
17 Spawning Pool
19 Overlord & Save Larvae
19 2 x Queens, 4-6 x Zerglings
@100 Gas mined pull workers back to minerals (on natural expansion, for optimal mining.)
34 Third Queen
36 Move towards & take third hatchery (~3:00) - use your Queens and Zerglings to zone out the Reapers so your drone does not get killed while transferring.
38 You have an option to make some extra Zerglings here to line-up with your speed finish at 3:30. These will help to defend from Hellions alongside your Queens.
3:15-3:25 Resume gas mining in main base
3:20 Fourth Queen - initially these Queens are used to spread creep and as defense at the natural. One will later transfer to inject at the third base.
3:30 Second and Third Extractors
With Metabolic Boost finished you can try and take some map control if you decided to make extra Zerglings - try sneak a few across the map to see what is in opponents natural.
3:45 Roach Warren
If you didn't make additional Zerglings before this is when Elazer opts to add 4 more.
4:20 Roach Production - the number of Roaches depends on what you have scouted. More than 6 Hellions or anything to suggest a Hellbat attack and you should make 8 or so Roaches which should be plenty to defend with Queens. Otherwise 4-5 Roaches will suffice in deflecting Hellions at your front door and helping to push your creep out of your base.
4:40 Fifth Queen - this Queen will be for creep spread and defense as now one of the earlier queens has moved to injecting at the third.
4:45 If you have determined that you will not be attacking into your opponent due to a Banshee/Tank opening and will instead be focusing towards the later stages of the game then this is when you should consider adding evolution chambers for your upgrades.
5:00 Glial Reconstitution, stop Drone production and begin Roach production. This is also a time when you should expect to start making a LOT of Overlords, if you are going to pump out Roaches and attack.
6:00 Begin to move across map with 20-25 Roaches. Continue Roach production to ~30 Roaches made, but make sure to save enough resources (mostly gas) for 5 Ravagers.
6:15 Return to Drone Production, take fourth and fifth extractors.
6:30 Start fourth base
6:30 Begin your attack
The game now becomes much more reaction based - if you feel you can kill your opponent you can start Zergling production to stream in quickly and kill him. If you need more Roaches to defend an attack then go back to Roach production. You should add evolution chambers when you have a spare moment in the attack and start +1/+1 as soon as possible. This should be affordable now with the extra drones & gases without having to cut unit production.
Pros & Cons of this Opening
- The opening is very flexible based on what you scout. With multiple Queens and an early Roach Warren you can deal with all aggression as long as you prepare accordingly.
- The build can also quickly switch into a more macro-oriented opening in-case you see strong defensive units from your opponent which would mean an aggressive attack is not going to succeed.
- Strong transition into a mid-game Roach-Ravager composition with four saturated bases and the ability to continue your tech into Hydralisks, Hive and more.
- A player who is under-prepared for the attack can just straight up die to this.
- Very strong against mutliple barracks opening.
- Flexibility when it comes to the attack means you can either take a straight up engagement and try to get SCV kills or just look to delay a third base or even a fourth with your large army.
- Reasonable build on four of seven maps in the map pool.
- Build is weak against Tank and Banshee openings (but can switch away to a more macro-oriented style.)
- A Terran who figures out what is going on by scouting a lack of evolution chambers can prepare to defend your attack effectively.
- Weakness to drops while you are attacking.
- Easy to over-commit to the wrong fight and suddenly find yourself without an army or an advantage.
- Will take some time to learn what the right and wrong decisions are when it comes to executing the attack.
- Late upgrades & lower drone count than usual which are not made up for if you don't deal damage.
Attacking with Ravagers
Ravagers and their Corrosive Bile ability have added a whole new strength to Zerg all-ins and timing-attacks in Legacy of the Void, giving Zerg the utility to quickly clear defensive structures and units from the Terran. The Ravager has a higher DPS and range on its standard attack than a Roach and combined with it's ability it is able to put out a lot of damage in a short time. The downside to this is that a Ravager costs 25/75, which is a lot of gas in the early stages of the game.
The Ravager also has less health than a Roach, making it less of a tank when it comes face to face with opposing units. This means that if you don't have some Roaches to support then your Ravagers are very quickly going to disappear and a large investment is suddenly gone.
Attacking correctly with Ravagers can be difficult. To maximize the DPS of your entire army it makes more sense to have your Ravagers in the back and the Roaches in front, because of the range difference. But this means that any defensive units such as Liberators might now be out of range of the Ravagers corrosive bile. Leading the charge with the Ravagers is unlikely to end well however as they do have less health than Roaches and again losing them is a lot of gas down the drain.
When you do attack you also have to decide how you are going to use your Corrosive Bile cool-downs. High priority targets include anything that is going to remove damage from your army quickly, such as Liberators, Siege Tanks and Widow Mines. Bunkers are also going to be a high target priority as the sooner you take down a bunker the sooner you move through into the base and the less time you waste from the bunker being repaired. If possible having an Overseer to try and assess what you are attacking into is going to be extremely useful as it will allow you to predetermine where you will be dropping the Corrosive Bile and reducing the amount of decisions you have to make on the fly.
Finally Corrosive Bile is a great zone-control ability. You can force SCVs away from a bunker as well as forcing a clump of Terran bio to either move away, giving you time to reset your concave or move forwards and gain position, or alternatively to move towards you, which allows all of your units to attack at the same time and optimizing your damage output.
With this build you have five Corrosive Bile attacks every seven seconds. The most important casts will be the first and second set as this will determine how much damage and defense you will take away from your opponent, allowing the rest of the attack to be successful.
I love this build because it all comes down to how good you are at the execution. This is true from start to finish - from scouting to attacking - while still leaving you with a strong mid-game set-up whether you decide to attack or not. If you scout early something that is going to block the attack then you can transition into something more macro-oriented. When you attack you have to make the right decisions to maximize the effectiveness of the attack. Of course it is always nice when your opponent is just not quite prepared and you come in and take a nice quick victory as well!
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