On small maps are often both sides just crashing into each other with roach-bane or roach-ravager ling whereas bigger maps especially with safe 3rds like dusk towers often gravitate towards muta play.
Invader horizontal spawns is incredibly long rush distance but close air distance so some 2-base muta has been popping up there. Having a muta lead is so powerful because of the distance between bases too so many chances to leverage that advantage before a faster 3rd player can catch up.
The dirtiest build in my opinion is 2-base tech builds (frozen temple is very popular for this)
getting used a lot more recently on KR, dunno how popular it is with europeans yet but
basically it's just 4 queens, cancel ling speed or never even start it super fast lair + RW + evo walloff and the other guy has no idea if it's fast muta or fast roach speed and +1
^G1 Hydra does a 2-base tech build and Snute doesn't realise early enough and does an attack which only cancels a 3rd that isn't even being used
So sometimes the other guy with the faster 3rd looks to just try and overwhelm with roach-bane before mutas pop (generally gets rekt by roach focus) Or just defends and tries to feel out the situation and identify what he needs. Fast Lair in reaction to get the overseer scout is a must to play reactively vs this.
Any 2-base ling-bane aggression is really bad - might as well take a 3rd hatch with it and hit pretty much as hard. So that's not really a thing anymore outside of abusing players that skip/delay bane nest and very specific timings to abuse lack of vision on certain map spawns.
So in terms of strength of compositions at various points in the game:
- Earlygame roach dominates
- Midgame muta is untouched
- Ultras are the endgame
Skip to 40:00 to see Dark's refined 3-base macro muta build. Note the safety roach warren to give him the option to pump roaches vs a roach-bane push.
There's a sick recent reaction to mutas which Dark showed a while back where you just skip hydras and go straight to hive using queen-spore to lock down 4-base and get 4 infestors out (skip pathogen cos you won't build any more) and 3 vipers and double melee ups getting ready for your ultras. So if the other guy masses mutas they're useless because maths.
If it doesn't take you to the right part of the VoD go to 45:00 for Dark showing this vs Curious in GSL.
- If ultras are 3 armour upgrades (and chitinous) ahead of mutas it takes 501 shots to kill one (If they all hit at the same time and regen only has time for 1 HP.
- If mutas have +1 they take 251 shots to kill a maxxed ultra
- If mutas have +2 attack 167 shots to kill maxxed ultra
- So even if you have +3 mutas they take 126 shots to kill a maxxed ultra
- not most ppl's piece of cake!
To elaborate on the low tech roach vs roach wars
Often one player will squeeze in a spire while they're both just deadlocked at roaches
and if the other guys doesn't get his own spire or break through before he's normally pretty boned. The mutas just snipe off all the ravagers and force a huge amount of static whilst giving so much space and freedom. The player can tech up really high behind it, or more often just find aggressive openings and win the game quite suddenly. Some players like to add hydras there though, but they often struggle to afford enough hydras + spores because roach vs roach usually forces a lower economy game.
Let's also talk about cheesy stuff
It's almost always hidden now because if you go straight across the map with it ppl just pull off gas and defend gasless - they don't give the hatchery up anymore. They just pull drones build lings/queens/spines and the shitty 1-base production can't get through unless defending player shits the bed with their micro.
Soo does a sneaky 13/12 on the safest map in the pool.
On frozen temple (and other short maps) you might see 12 pool 13 gas SUPER allin build.
Basically rather than 13/12 (which optimises lingspeed + bane timing) it hits with the force of a 12 pool - fastest possible first lings attacking. But also fastest possible queen so the first inject hits at a much more effective timing, whilst having the lingspeed and banes kick in not too far behind.
In this last VoD we see Rogue drone-scout Soo who's been cheesing a LOT in Proleague. After seeing the hatch-gas-pool he reacts with his own super fast 3rd hatch BEFORE queens, similar to the very popular ZvP build. He uses the extra production and relentless aggression on the small map to close it out.