When the plug was pulled from BW in 2012, everyone thought that was it. But while a lot of money, effort, and resources were poured to push SC2 in the forefront of RTS games, BW managed to thrive in the shadows, as players and fans alike cannot resist leaving behind such a beautiful game. In the absence of formal professional tournaments, progamers turned to streams and small informal tournaments to continue their passion for the game. Fast forward to five years after the last professional BW game, we are once again witnessing BW progaming atmosphere not unlike the one during the golden age of BW. Sure, the players are older, and the mechanics are rusty, but what they lack in speed they make up in strategy and better standing of strategies. As someone who has not seen a single BW game since the last Kespa-sponsored tournament in 2012, I can say that the maturity in stragtegic and tactical understanding of the game now is truly majestic. What once where glimpses of possibilities are now fully developed, and what once where novel are now standard. Without further ado, here are some of the strategies:
ZvP - Fast 3rd to Turtle Macro
The concept of fast 3rd is not new. Savior unleashed the maximum zerg-swarm potential by adopting a econ-management game by securing early expo and managing the map all game. Jaedong, Zero, SK, and to some extent Effort adopt a certain variation of this, while still remaining true to the nature of zerg aggression - hitting the fast hydra bust timing or teching to hive before Protoss can hit max 3/3. This aggression often leaves zerg vulnerable to HT/DT/Reaver drops which depending on the damage could automatically stop zerg in its tracks.
What we see now, especially the one used by Larva, and lately by SK is to deal with the first two zealot harass and expand to a second natural behind the defense. It then becomes a game of trading efficiently with cheap llings and hydras for Reavers, HT, and Archons, while being on full alert for sneaky Shuttles and Observers This is micro-intensive, but not more than the standard micro intensive offense-oriented ZvP. The difference is apm now is assigned to defensing the base and managing the map. The idea is to gain early econ advantage, sprawl expand in the bases between the main and third, planting mass sunkens and spores, a strategy once taboo for zerg, and starve Protoss to death while letting him do all the aggression and commit the mistakes. Obviously, this strategy is difficult to pull and requires not only high apm, but also great understanding of PvZ tactics and timing. It helps that the greatest proponent of this strategy, Larva, has played millions and millions of games against the best PvZ player (guess who).
ZvT - Spellcasting Zerg
At the end of the Kespa era, Zero and SK were experimenting with queens as a counter to turtling terrans and mech pushes. Even if Kespa cut that experiment short, fortunately, the experiment continued underground. We again have to thank Larva and SK for developing this strategy to its present form.
The problem with this is that Terran pushed before Zerg amassed enough Queens and ground army to nullify mech, and outright kill a weak Zerg army who has been spending resources on Queens and research instead. Moreover, once Terran realized whats up, a well-controlled Valkyrie or even Wraith spells the end for this little trick. The adjustment Post-Kespa era is to minimize the once go-to strategy of throwing ling-lurker army midgame and instead devoting the strength in defending the bases and reaching Queen tech quicker than the usual, with them hitting full energy before the mech push. Zerg also try to delay Terran from pushing out by using guerilla strategies that are never aimed to win small skirmishes, but only to reduce tank count of the bio ball. The key to success as used by Larva and SK against Flash in this strategy is to not overcommit with lings in the early bio push, something that Jaedong even at the height of his ZvT dominance can still be reckless with. This allows Zerg to then transition more comfortably to lair and queen without sacrificing the strength of its army.