What units to build when playing as a Zerg in SC2: Direct Strike in 3V3 mode.

You can also read my guide to Direct Strike for beginners.

Against Another Zerg

ZvZ is a fun matchup. I prefer to skip the first wave, go to T2, and then scan the opponent’s base. Then I decide to either:

  • Go for Roach/Hydra composition. Roach/Hydra is an excellent composition because Roaches are good at tanking damage and Hydralisks are good at dealing damage. Every time a Hydralisk is dealing damage without being hurt is a huuuge win for you. Moreover, they are both range units which means they share upgrades. You don’t need to research two attack upgrades.
  • Go for Mutalisks if the opponent went for ground units only such as Roaches or zerglings. Rushing Mutalisks is a good strategy because they are cheap and Zerg does not have a quick answer to them. They need to slowly build a horde of Queens together with a few Infestors or tech up to T3 to get Vipers. It takes time.

Eventually switch to Lurkers. Lurkers are essential in ZvZ, every ZvZ ends as Lurkers war. Have a few Queens to a) heal Lurkers b) shoot down enemy Overseer. You can also build a single Corruptor and put it in front. It will cause enemy Overseer to stop following ground units and your Lurkers will be out of their detection range.

Against Protoss

Skip the first wave and upgrade to T2. Then:

  • Go for Roach/Hydra composition. It’s good against anything Protoss can throw at you. A horde of Zealots will shred Roach/Hydra in the beginning but Roach/Hydra (and later on Lurkers) eventually win. I usually don’t build banelings because they are useless in the later phases of the game while the other units are somehow useful.
  • A completely opposite strategy is to build a swarm of Zerglings. They are the best T1 unit and there is no other T1 unit that beats them. But sooner or later they will become obsolete. Once the Protoss has a first Colossus or even Oracle, the Zerglings will be dead before they can do anything. A swarm of Zerglings is a solid start but you need to transition into something else: Hydralisks and Lurkers.
  • Be aware of crazy strategies such as mass Oracles. Definitely don’t build any Roaches.

If the enemy goes for Void Rays, built Infestors, Vipers, and Queens. Queens are good at countering Disruptors. The Purification Nova significantly damages a Lurker or a Swarm Host but it does not kill it – a Queen can heal them up. The Purification Nova seeks out primarily Swarm Hosts, use it to your advantage. And remember that a Queen is excellent at sniping an Observer.

Against Terran

I’m going to repeat myself, but: Roach/Hydra is good at beating Terran units. It destroys Marine/Marauder because Marines are not good at taking damage. Lines or Marines will fall first and Hydralisks beat Marauders. It obviously destroys Hellbats. Just be aware of stupid Banshee rushes.

Terran usually goes for Liberators or Ravens. Also switch to air and build Corruptors. Hydralisks beat Liberators but it can be close. Liberators need to siege up which takes time – Hydralisks can destroy one or two Liberators before the sieging is complete. But sometimes the Liberators are already sieged from the previous wave or something like that and then it can be a problem. Having Corruptors is a safer way of handling Terran air forces.

Do not build Brood Lords as Terran can build Thors and Thor is the best anti-air unit in the game. It has bonus damage to massive units (which Brood Lord is) and it has an incredible range. I usually build Swarm Hosts to counter Thors. But be aware that Thors are really strong against Zerg. Be sure you’re winning by the time Terran switches to Thor production… Otherwise, God help you.

Further reading