A note to readers: I would appreciate it if you would refer to this build as 'The Ice Fisher' or 'The Ice Fisher Build' or I guess Spanishiwa's build or something would suffice.
EDIT: Replays are up, request more if you want to see more. Finding pictures was such a pain though, so I'm gonna be lazy and put that off for awhile. The replays also show the old 16 hatch/15 pool build order that was advocated in this thread. I now prefer 13h/15p. The concept is the same, just the timings are a little different (13h/15p is slightly faster and more economical, so it's just better overall).
Verdict is still out on which is better.. 16h 15p or 13h 15p. 13h won't get blocked as often, but the economic advantage is slightly less than 16h if you're forced to make early lings. Also experimenting with an 11p 18h build zvz, to prevent early pool + spine shenanigans.
You might have seen me trying to explain the build on MrBitter's 12 weeks with the pros, but I felt that I didn't explain it sufficiently enough to be satisfied. It's a fast expansion style build that opens the same vs all 3 match ups (ZvT, ZvP, ZvZ), with small tweaks to the opener depending on the match up.
The build revolves around a few key ideas:
1: that in the early game larva is extremely important, and having to produce units from that limited larva (instead of drones) is very disadvantageous to you. 2: that by delaying your gas you're able to drone extremely quickly. This is because your income won't be split between gas/mineral income (it will be all mineral), and thus you're able to get drones quicker than you'd normally be able to. 3: that creep spread increases the effectiveness of Zerg by a LOT. To the point where it is extremely worth it to spend in-game resources to expedite the process of spreading creep. 4: that mid and late game Zerg is very strong (compared to early game Zerg). 5: that over saturating is terrible (like, terrible terrible).
The build always opens 16 hatchery 15 spawning pool. I'll go into the specifics of what happens if you're blocked/etc in the later parts of the guide.
This part is very essential, and I'm going to randomly put it here because I forgot to put it in the individual ZvT/ZvZ/ZvP sections. Using your initial queen energy to connect your natural and main is necessary.
The early hatchery is critical, as it serves multiple roles. Increasing your ability to produce queens, increasing your larva production (drones), increasing the number of mineral patches (and gas geysers, this is very important) available to be mined from (so that you won't be over saturated), creating a defensive area to set up spine crawlers, and putting the 'ball' in your opponent's court (forcing him to play catch up in the macro game, or try to end it quick with an all-in/cheese).
Then, you'll get 4 queens as soon as possible for spawn larva/spreading creep. This is an important part as the creep spread is extremely necessary for defense (as queens are pretty slow off creep, or so I've heard) and on the off-chance that you're forced to make slow lings (see: MC style 4 gate, Jemag 5 gate) they won't be too ridiculously slow. All of your larva will be going to drones and a SMALL amount of zerglings (1 or 2 sets) purely for scouting purposes. Spreading creep is very important. If you can't spread creep effectively, this build will not be effective. There is no tricky deciding between units and drones in this build, although you will have to decide between more spine crawlers/queens or less (which is the same concept).
As you're approaching 32 drones (the point of saturation for two bases, 2 drones per mineral patch, 8 patches per base) you'll throw down all 4 of your gas. You'll keep droning for now, because you'll need more drones to replace the drones that will now be mining gas, as well as the drones lost to tech buildings/extractors. This is generally around 40+ food, as you'll have 32 drones and 4 queens. I cannot stress enough the importance of not getting supply blocked with this build, as if you mess up the timings even slightly you'll be extremely vulnerable to quick 2 base aggressive pushes.
With the first 100 gas, I like to get my lair. I get lair before zergling speed, upgrades, or baneling nest because poking/prodding with zerglings at his front will not bring sufficient enough scouting information for this late in the game, and thus a quick overseer is crucial. The second 100 gas, I like to get my zergling speed. Anything further than this is match up specific and will be addressed in the later sections. Almost all match ups do involve double evo chamber though, as this is a build focussing on mid to late game zerg play.
9 OL 16 Hatch 15 Pool 18 OL 2 queens (eventually 2 more), and a pair of zerglings for scouting Drones until 40 (assuming you didn't lose the scouting pair of zerglings) All 4 geysers on 40, keep droning until you have a total of 44 drones (being sure to replace lost drones due to building construction/harassment etc) 100 gas, lair (start double evo chambers, and either roach warren or baneling nest [or, depending on the situation, both] depending on what he's harassed you with) 100 gas, ling speed @100% evo chambers, +1 to melee and carapace* (even if you threw down a roach warren and are forced to produce a lot of roaches) @100% lair, overseer to scout
Match up specifics: As terran, he shouldn't really be able to block your expansion because you can just harass the SCV with 2 drones. I'm not sure if this holds a 2 rax scv all in on close positions. I've never been able to do it against anyone competent, so maybe it's impossible. Keep that in mind when doing this build close positions. You can hold a 2 rax not-all-scvs (3 or so) pressure. I'm still working on the most appropriate response, but so far I've come up with pull 6 drones for 1 marine 3 SCV, 9 drones for 3 marine 3 SCV. Use the drones to stall for queen at natural and a spine crawler. Don't be afraid to chase him into the middle of the map, as you're just stalling. It's very critical to lose as few drones as possible to these early attacks, as losing too many could put you too far behind (zerg is not a catch up race, at least on hatchery tech it isn't).
Because of the above, I scout on 12 with this build. The scout will tell you whether or not he's doing a 2 rax, quick reaper, quick hellion, or quick expansion build. Terran doesn't do anything slow so you needn't worry about that (jk jk, but those are the most common builds that I see).
If you see a gas, steal his other gas. I'm not sure whether or not this is terribly effective, but it keeps the scouting drone alive and I'm sure it pisses off your terran opponent (keep on top of those cancels/remakes, and don't forget that 3 marines out dps an extractor in construction). Also be sure to check the gas mined on his refinery, this will tell you how soon he started mining from the refinery, and thus how soon you can expect hellions.
You will need 2 spine crawlers minimum to hold the initial hellion harass if he so decides to, and then you will want to add 1 more to your main mineral line on the off chance he drops you or he gets up your ramp (although your queens should be blocking). Time the spine crawlers with his hellion tech, and the third with his starport tech (you don't need perfect numbers, just don't throw down all 3 spines at once because he won't have starport tech as soon as his hellions are produced [essentially you're just delaying throwing down the inevitable spine crawler to eek out a bit more economy]). Keep 1 queen at each hatchery for injects, and the rest to ward off his marauding hellions. Try to keep on top of injects, larva usage, and creep spread throughout this stage.
Once you've reached saturation for your minerals and all 4 gas geysers, immediately switch into all unit-production mode. Don't worry if you haven't scouted a big push coming, or this or that, because you're not producing the units to defend some huge push by him (coincidentally, that is the case just because this is around the time for 2 base aggression) you're producing them because you're in the mid game and your units will be very strong (early upgrades, lair tech upgrades like drop/roach speed/bane speed/burrow, infestors, etc).
Pick between a spire (I only recommend building 6 mutas) to ward off medivac drops, or an infestation pit for harassment/epic comebacks/stalling for hive tech. If you get a spire, then only build a small number of mutalisks and start your +1 carapace. Time your hive to complete when +1 carapace, or +2 carapace completes (when +1 is 60 seconds completed, or +2 is 90 seconds completed). Then go for broodlords (obviously if he's expecting this and hard countering it then throw down an ultralisk cavern instead).
Oh, and I'd get overlord speed as soon as can be reasonably expected with this build. I don't really know why, I just like having overlord speed to be able to goop up the potential expansions of my opponent (cute trick: burrow a zergling at his expansion AND goop it, that way it's that much more delayed and they get super frustrated [messes up SCV transfer]) as well as position them better to scout for drops/run away from vikings and whatnot. Also opens up the opportunity for drops/overseer play, and you can do mind games like running a random overlord into your opponent's mineral line and seeing if they freak out. If you chose infestors, I generally like to throw down the infestation pit when +1 +1 is completed and +2+2 is just starting. This is because the hive tech timing (starting hive when infestation pit is @100%) matches nicely with 3/3, and you'll have excess gas stockpiling (you just burned it all on +2+2, pathogen glands, burrow, banelings/whatnot). A timing I like with infestors is to build them when pathogen glands is at 30 seconds (31 to be safe) so that they complete right as the energy upgrade completes. I also start burrow immediately when the infestation completes (or more specifically, ~20 seconds before you start pathogen glands).
Burrow is extremely critical, as it allows you to stall for hive tech/harass. Picture this: burrowed banelings at his third, or burrowed infestors creeping up into the mineral lines of the nat/main for a double fungal scv all-kill. Or, if he's pushing you hard on a 2 base all in with tanks he'll be forced to scan for burrowed banelings. And you'll be able to burrow and use infamous spanishiwa infested terran bombs ('pop pop pop pop') on tanks to get them to splash eachother and thus weaken/defeat/delay his push long enough for hive tech (ultralisks or broodlords). Burrow also matches nicely with roaches, as you can go for tunneling claws and shift queue some burrow/unburrow commands to his third (do it right, so that they park outside the range of the inevitable PF at their third).
A key thing to note: I didn't mention it previously, but overseers are a very viable mid-game option! You are not limited to spire/infestation pit (although you will transition to one or the other eventually). You can instead use your initial gas on a healthy number of overseers (maybe 5-8). This works best on meching terrans or terrans doing a 2 base timing with stim/shields/siege mode. 4 overseers is enough to permanently contaminate a building, so goop up a stim timing/siege mode timing long enough for infestor tech or baneling speed!
* The +1+1 melee/carapace instead of range attack is because I feel that roaches are for tanking and zerglings are for DPS. It also transitions better into the late game as you're essentially just stalling for either ultra/broodlord tech for a late game composition of infestor/ling/bling/broodlord or infestor/ling/bling/ultralisk. I may dabble with triple evo chambers, but yeah as of now I think +1+1 melee/cara is the best way to go.
Things to watch out for: 2 rax scv all ins and hellion drops. Blue flame drop is pretty effective, but with good OL placement you should be able to see it coming and position queens appropriately. You'll have 1 spine in your main and nat min lines anyway, so no biggy there. The timing for this is around the time you start producing slow lings/roaches anyway, so you'll have some units on the field (although they are pretty much just for show, as slow lings are pretty terrible and your speedling timing won't be quick enough). 2 port banshee isn't really that effective because (presumably) you stole his gas so he won't have the gas for banshees AND cloak. So pure banshee will just melt to your 4 queens usually. 1 port with cloak isn't really that effective.. at this point it's super all in and you can just all drone and you'll be fine. You're getting evos as lair starts, so it's not like you're that vulnerable. If he targets drones you can just run them around and bleed drones will making more, and if he targets queens well you'll just transfuse and you'll take 0 losses. About the 2 rax scv all in: yeah I don't know if it's possible to hold, supposedly you sacrifice the natural and defend the main or something but I'm skeptical. On cross positions you'll have a better chance though, so I can definitely see you holding your natural there.
There is no nydus in this build. Haven't been able to incorporate one as of yet. Personally I prefer drops over nydus, and infestors over drops (in ZvT) but I'm still experimenting.
9 OL 16 Hatchery 15 Spawning Pool 18 OL. @100% Hatchery 1 spine crawler 2 queens (eventually 2 more), and a pair of zerglings for scouting Drones until 40 (assuming you didn't lose the scouting pair of zerglings) All 4 geysers on 40, keep droning until you have a total of 44 drones (being sure to replace lost drones due to building construction/harassment etc) 100 gas, lair (start double evo chambers) 100 gas, ling speed @100% evo chambers, +1 to melee and carapace @100% lair, overseer to scout, ventral sacs, overlord speed baneling nest (about when overlord speed finishes. obviously you might want to get it sooner if you see he'll be pressuring you in a timing such that you won't have overlord drop in time to defend)
Match up specifics: Scout on 13ish, and steal the protoss guy's second gas! It really grinds their gears. It can also uh.. like egg on (incite? instigate?) a 4 gate or other form of all in from him. I think the funniest one I've seen is the KiWiKaKi 2 immortal+warp prism drop on me. Except that I don't get roaches.. so it was lol.
Also, if he scouts on 9 and you see him coming up the ramp with your second overlord (that should be positioned at your natural to scout for cannon cheese) throw down a gas on 14 to trick your opponent into thinking you're doing 14/14. Just cancel it and throw down the 16 hatch when the probe is sufficiently out of position. If he doesn't fall for this, and the map allows it, you can take the third instead of your natural (maps like metalopolis cross positions or close positions by air, for example). See: Jemag 5 gate on my mrbitters ep for an illustration.
The one spine crawler @100% hatchery is extremely necessary to hold off the zealot + stalker harass that will inevitably be coming.
After that spine is up, it's just scouting from here. If he goes for a 3 gate sentry expand you will need 2 more spine crawlers (a third, on some maps). This is also why 4 gate doesn't really work, because if he does a 4 gate and fools you into thinking it's a 3 gate sentry expand.. well you have spines anyway. Although, against a shameless 4 gate all in I do like to get about 4-5 spines in my natural as well as 2 spine at the top of my ramp and ~8 slow lings parked at the top of the ramp.
If he's doing a phoenix opener, you'll just need to delay overlord drop tech, grab a third, and get a spire as well as infestation pit down. Active scouting will tell you whether or not he's committing to air tech, and if he is I feel the best response is a double spire with double upgrades going. All the gas will be going to corrupters/a few infestors, and a small handful of banelings to clear whatever amount of zealots he has (so that the zerglings can do their work). Minerals will be going to aggressive expanding as well as zerglings/drones/static D/whatever.
In this match up (as in all), overseer is also very viable. If he's going robo tech, I like to get 4-8 overseers and goop up his robotics while waiting for drop tech. Then I'll do a massive like infinity-pronged attack on his main/natural (banelings in drops to mineral lines, and a few in overlords to complement your zergling army) while expanding. At the very minimum you'll take out his sentries and you'll have stalled for your spire/infestation pit (one or the other, or I guess both) to come up, but usually this is a game ending attack.
So yeah if it doesn't kill him, you've got some nice +2/+2 ling/bling/(either corrupter/infestor, or both) composition with hive tech on the way. Much like ZvT, just stall for either ultras or broodlords with infestors/good drop play, and hopefully you can take the game from there.
The third base timing is usually when you start to switch to unit production, or when you feel safe. Can't really explain this.
A key thing to note: I don't like to spread overlords (except my first 1-3ish) with this until I have, or have started/will start overlord speed, because there is a scouting blindness where you won't be able to tell if he's going stargate play or not. If he is, and you have spread out overlords.. chances are you could be set too far behind. It's not really a big deal anyway, as there's not much the overlords would scout that early in the game regardless (they can't even poop out creep to deny an expansion).
Things to watch out for: 1 base DT is pretty eh, but if you wall your ramp with queens/drones you'll be able to stall for lair tech. It's actually pretty simple, you just buy time by hold positioning drones and transfusing queens. A spore at the top of the ramp and maybe one in the main mineral line is all you need. If he focusses your natural hatchery, you can just throw down some panic spores and transfuse to save it. If he focusses your queens, well to be honest they've already pooped out their creep tumors so they've done their job and are expendable. Just transfuse what you can, and try to mess up DT ai as you can with drones. It'll be a pretty easy win, because even if you take heavy losses he's just on one base and he can't really attack because you have spines (by deductive reasoning: if you thought he was doing air, you'd have spores and thus DTs would be nullified. Only way DT would catch you off guard is if you misread DTs as a 3 gate expand or 4 gate, and in either case you'd have 3 or more spines as previously discussed).
Cannon rushes are pretty baller though, just know where he can throw down cannons (there are some spots, for example on shattered temple there is a spot near the ramp where if a cannon is being constructed only like 2 drones can attack it). Although good scouting/control will stop this.
3 gate blink stalker is pretty deadly too, in this case you need to treat it as a 4 gate and put the 2 spines above your ramp as previously discussed. If you don't, he'll just blink up the ramp (as opposed to walking).
Against forge FE openings I like to do a hatchery/evo cancel where his nexus would go, just to force cannons before nexus. That way you'll retain some semblance of an economic lead.
9 OL 16 Hatch 15 Pool 17 OL (or 18, depending on scouting information!) Depends..
Match up specifics: Personally, I like to scout early enough such that the drone will get to his expansion soon enough to block it should he be going for a hatchery first build. This usually means around 1:15 on XNC, or 1:04 on scrap station (I do not recommend scrap station for this build. It is the one map where it is very difficult to hold).
The drone scout will either delay his expansion, evo block his gas, scout to see his larva saved / whether or not he has pulled from gas (or a combination of the above). You will need to OL on 17 if he is saving for 3 sets of lings, and OL on 18 if he's saving for 2 sets. From here you just queen and spine appropriately. The longer he doesn't take his natural, the more spines you get. Add a spine around each minute or so, as this means his larva will be going to zerglings (and if they're going to drones, then he's just over saturating and you'll be ahead regardless).
I will make zerglings and keep trading zerglings/bum rushing his base until his zergling speed comes up. All the while I'll have my 4 queens producing and defensive spines in production. The spines need to be placed such that more than one won't be hit by baneling splash, and that they either defend the ramp (where your queens will block) or your hatchery/mineral line (or ideally, both). Once the spines are up, I will make all drones.
Just react to your opponent's timings, if he goes for an expansion still continue to produce spine crawlers at a rate of around 1 per minute until it's almost up/you see the drone transfer (or scout to see if his larva is going to lings or not). Once you've survived the early game, and have reached lair tech with your delayed 4 gas geyser timing you can play standard from there.
I say standard because I'm still working out ZvZ, at the moment I favor a mass queen/speedling/spine crawler/roach/infestor defense while taking a third and heading for hive tech (ultras! :D). Speedlings to do run bys and snipe infestors if he's not looking, infestors to counter his infestors/roaches/hydras, roaches of your own because pure speedling will die to his fungals and queens complement roaches pretty well. Spines because you will be down in roach count, but that's alright because you'll be gas starved from all the infestors you're getting and you need to be defensive to hold your third anyway.
A key thing to note: Overseers viable here too! Feel free to goop up all his stuff. Hatcheries and evo chambers for starters, and a cute thing you can do is goop his infestation pit if it's researching. Chances are he timed his pathogen glands to finish right before his infestors popped, and thus you'll totally screw over his timing and he'll raaaaage.
Also: I'm not sure if the double evos are viable here.. still deciding whether or not it's worth it. I like them, because they let the lings fair a bit better against roaches and you'll be transitioning to ultra/broodlord anyway (go ultra though, broodlord is very easily countered).
Things to watch out for: Very hard baneling all ins (off 2 base), 8 pool drone/spine all in. Hard 2 base speedling all in with fake drone transfer. The very hard baneling all in can be stopped with some good sim city. It's only effective because the banelings go straight for the mineral line and bust your queen blocking with shear numbers (and you won't have roach tech, so a counter attack is pretty much impossible even if you do manage to hold off the attack [slow lings vs banelings..]).
I'm not sure how to effectively hold off 8 pool/spine all in. I think the best way is to send your drones out to the middle of the map and dance with his drones to delay for your spawning pool/zerglings to arrive. Cancelling your hatchery, of course.
The fake drone transfer 2 base speedling all in can give you a false sense of security and you might cancel a spine that's in production and that will end you. It's pretty dumb yeah, but with good timings you should be able to hold regardless. Also, being super active about scouting (sneaking slow lings into his base somehow, I realize he has speedlings but sometimes you're able to sneak some by sneakily, i.e. XNC).
Replays: Keep in mind that whether or not I lose in the end is not really important. What's important is that I get into the mid/late game on equal footing, or with an advantage. Or (if my timings were off/didn't scout correctly/etc) I would be ahead, if I had played it better.
Also: Some/most of the replays are pre-patch, but if you don't think that this strategy works, feel free to watch the mrbitters episode, check out my replay pack that I will be releasing soon, or check out my stream any time.
Last things to note! Doesn't work on scrap (yet!), 2 rax all scv all in close positions it doesn't work, proxy 2 gate it doesn't work (although I've pulled it off before, but that's.. a different story), 6 pool you have to cancel the hatchery, pylon block by P with no viable 3rd = it won't work
Queen Energy Management: Don't spend it all on tumors at once, keep some in reserve for transfusions unless you know there won't be pressure or you've switched to unit production. About 5 or so tumors should be enough for the early game.
Thanks for the guide! Any tips on Queen energy management? Assuming constant injects on both hatches along with that early creep tumor for connecting main and nat, do you just keep throwing down new creep tumors or is there a point at which you try to bank some energy for transfuse?
Garth United States. March 31 2011 11:22. Posts 327
Thank you so much for posting! After seeing you talk about this on Mrbitter's stream I wanted to know the build more specifically and get my hands on a replay of you executing it! Thanks and I hope you continue to stream!
Love your build Spanishiwa. I use a slightly different build order, but it basically contains all the main elements of your build.
Your build is so strong at defending early pressure and the extra queens give a nice amount of creep tumours at the start of the game for vision. It is really helpful in preparing for early aggression when you can spot it coming a mile away.
I think the only thing your post is missing is a plug to your stream. I heard about you from 12 weeks with the pros on mr.bitters stream, but you should totally plug your stream because its so good.
HTODethklok United States. March 31 2011 11:39. Posts 221
On March 31 2011 11:20 nanoscorp wrote: Thanks for the guide! Any tips on Queen energy management? Assuming constant injects on both hatches along with that early creep tumor for connecting main and nat, do you just keep throwing down new creep tumors or is there a point at which you try to bank some energy for transfuse?
Ive been watching his stream for the last week and what it looks like is if thinks early pressure is coming hell save some transfuses but once he knows he safe hell lite the map up with purple goo! Heres a link to his stream http://www.justin.tv/spanishiwa#/w/1026117072
Guns for show... Knives for a pro HTODethklok.201 NA
Deuces United States. March 31 2011 11:41. Posts 18
Pretty sure you kicked the crap out of me on ladder with this. The only concern I'd have is that with an early defense of spines+queens, you have almost no ability to pressure. When I watched the replay, I was like, "huh, shit, I could have taken my third at 8 minutes." Infestor + bling bombs are so cost-efficient vs P in lategame, tho, so I'm not sure if taking a faster third would have won the game anyway.
Been watching spanishiwa's stream for a while now. love seeing him dominate with this build. I use it now in my own games as well. Glad you got it up and posted and are now credited for your awesome build!
Klogbert United States. March 31 2011 12:23. Posts 139
On March 31 2011 12:35 Kelethius wrote: watch this guys stream, his builds deserve the title "innovative" because nobody plays like this and his builds actually work really well. this guys a baller. Insane cheese defense.
Yeah it's really helped me hold 4 gate and what not.
I'm excited to see this. I started trying these 16 hatch builds since I saw it last week on the 12 weeks show, and I've been checking out your stream too. It gets such a good economy with stupendous amounts of creep spread. I just need to learn how to deal with different types of early pressure.