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Zerg Handbook

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Full legth guide for the Zerg

This is my ever-growing handbook of my notes(and yours) on all aspects of the zerg defense and offense, both in the air and on the ground(or under it). Obviously this is a heap of information to think up and put on screen in words, so it will take me awhile to get it up to par. But rest assured! I'll keep working on it until its finished, and then ill continue to add new articles when i think up more, or when someone sends some new stuff in.
 
Updated information will appear with a * in front of it. This means that I have come back and added the note after finishing the original handbook
 
In the begining....
Like all other races, you start out with about 7 or 8 mineral fields, a gyhser, a main building (Hatchery, Nexus, or Command Center) and four workers (SCV, Drone, or Probe), and one supply unit. Note that the Nexus and Command Center supply 10 psi by themselves, but the zerg start with an overlord for thier begining supply. It is from these humble beginings that you must construct your hive cluster and build up a war machine. Start gathering minerals, with all four of your drones; it is important that you move as fast as possible during the very begining of the game. Get all your drones moving towards the minerals first, build another drone with the 50 starting minerals, and then set the drones to different clumps-all before the drones reach the minerals. You can scout for your enemy with an overlord but it is risky-if they kill your overlord this early in the game it can condem you to failure. Start making more drones as soon as you have the 50 minerals they cost. Around the time that your control is 8/9 make a new overlord and then your gameplan differs from here out. There are several paths you can take from here.
 
1) You can go straight for a spawning pool and build zergling quickly for  an early rush. While this move can be affective, keep in mind that if it fails you'll have wasted some valuable building time making those lings.
 
2) You can build extra sunken defenses and save your resources for a bigger attack force.
 
If you ask me, I would build an extractor before morphing a new overlord, and then build a spawning pool while gathering gas. As soon as the pool is done you should have enough minerals and gas to mutate your hatchery into a lair. Then while that is going, I would build a hydralisk den and save up for lurkers. This  makes for a speedy and efficient rush protection system. You could use the lurkers to either attack your foe, or defend your base from a choke point.
 
Whichever method you choose, once you have your base secure you need to start thinking about mass production and a new resource location. Which brings us to the next chapter in the zerg handbook.
 
* You can start an extractor or another building with your 9/9 drone and start a new drone at the hatchery and then cancel the building and you'll get the extra drone(s) without morphing a new overlord.
 
Expanding to new Resources
The right time to expand to a new mineral location is controversial, but in any case you need to expand to keep yourself swimming in resources. In most maps, there is a place just outside your base that has minerals and gas for the taking. Sometimes there will be only one entrance to it that you can gaurd that will protect both your bases from land invasion-this is an excellent opportunity to use the Hydro-lurker protection system. Instead of setting them up at the choke point to your starting base, set them up at the expansion choke point and you can protect both bases with only one set of troops. This makes expanding early cheaper, faster and safer and you can set up a base without having to worry about your foe finding your early expansion and starving you of resources. 
 
Expanding too early can open you to a rush, because of the extra minerals you had to spend on the expansion, you won't have adequate troops to defend both positions.
Expanding too late can also be bad because your advesary may have already expanded two or three fold and that means they will quickly out spend you and easily thwart any attemp at expanding from that point. Then all you have left is a slow, painfull death from mineral starvation.
 
Whenever you decide to expand, make sure you have plenty of protection at home and at the new front(s). It is devastating to lose resources to an opponent because you left a hatchery and two dozen drones alone to gather unprotected. Move the hatchery as close to the minerals and gas a possible, and try to find choke points to defend from. Elevated ground is excelent for lurkers because melee attackers cannot retaliate. It may be wise to place a few spore colonies behind your minerals to help fend off a drop attack. As the zerg you should have no trouble keeping detectors around to spot for your defenders.
 
Building and upgrading...
Now that you have all the mineral resources you need, it is time to get that war machine going. If you have the money to do so, build some extra hatcheries at your main base to aid speedy production. Also, dont skimp on the evolution chambers. Have the nessesarry tech buildings in place ahead of time so you can upgrade one level armor and weapons one after another until you max out. If you are going with air units as well as ground units, build a matching set of spires to go with your evolution chambers.
 
*Build a lair and then a hive early on so you can upgrade the zergs abilities quickly. Also the upgrades available at the lair and hive are essential in thier own right.
 
Attacking:
Build some extra overlords and start cranking out your choice troops from all those extra hatcheries you made. Wether you want to go with lotsa' troops and simply overwhelm your enemy or if you want to play it smart and use stragetic moves with special units and minimal troops-its up to you( I prefer sheer numbers myself). Just make sure to set your fighters to control groups to make attacks faster and more efficient. When it comes to special upgrades( adrenal glands, Grooved spines, Ventral sacks) only research the ones for the troops you are going to use. Resources spent on an upgrade for a unit that doesn't see any action are wasted resources. Be sure to balance your budget between upgrades and troops production. Once you have your army ready, scout for the enemy base(if you havn't already done so) and find the best area of approach. Look for lightly defended spots or where the enemy has cluttered buildings that would prevent them from reacting quickly. Use your control groups and attack in force. Use dark swarm over your ground troops, and plague on the enemy defenses. Use spawn broodling on key units like siege tanks and high templar. Keep your overlords by your front line at all times to spot for cloaked units. If you see an opportunity where you will have a few extra seconds, swing back by your base and set your hatcheries to mutate reinforcements should your troops need them. If your first army falls without damaging the enemy, try a different tactic. Continue building extra forces, sending them against the enemy, starting new upgrades, and expanding when nessesary. This constant threat can really bog down your opponent and sometimes inflict a crippling doubt and a state of panic in the enemy. Always make additional troops to keep in reserve at home because the enemy will sometimes send a counter attack force to engage your base while most of your forces are on their way to the enemy base. Keeping some forces in reserve go a long way in defending from a surprize counter attack.
 
Note* Spawn broodling doesn't work on reavers.
Error reported by: Mage_Incarnate
 
Defending:
There are several different ways your enemy can attack you, so there are many ways to defend against them affectively. Keeping your reserve troops in control groups increases response time greatly. If the enemy is attacking with just a few super powerful units, say 8 carriers, attack each enemy unit one at a time with all of your troops to kill it quickly and minimize your loses. Against ground troops, a choke point can be your best friend. Ground troops thrive by surrounding the enemy and overwhelming them, but a choke point prevents all of the troops from flooding into your base at once. Use a combination of lurkers, sunken colonies and hydralisks and zerglings to heavily fortify your choke point.You want to be able to pummel advancing ground troops before they even reach your defenders. Against the terrans, make sure to have some air units ready to fight off those pesky siege tanks. Gaurdians work best for this because the tanks may be occompanied by support troops. The guardians superior range allows you to engage the tanks from outside the range of the protective marines and goliaths. If the support troops wander too far from the seige tanks, send in your ground units to mop them up before they can kill your expensive guardians. If the terran player isn't bright enough to bring along a form of detection, you can burrow a bunch of zerglings outside the range of your own sunken defenses(this is were the tanks will ussually siege up and begin thier attack.) When the tanks and support forces move into place, unburrow the lings and use the element of surprize to attack quickly. To defend against air units, use a combo of spore colonies and hydralisks to fend off the airborne menaces. Hydralisks are very affective against all air units, even the mamoth battlecruisers and carriers. Scourge also take a toll on capitol ships, so keeping a few around for just such an occasion isn't a bad idea. When driving off fleets of smaller air units like wraiths and scouts, attack the area they dwell instead of targeting one unit at a time-unless you are badly outnumbered. Note that this is the opposite when attacking capitol ships-send all your troops to attack one unit at a time. If it looks like the enemy will succeed in breaking your defenses, start building reenforcements from your multiple hatcheries to repel thier attack before they can do any serious damage.
 
The Great comeback
Even if the enemy keeps killing your units (it doesnt matter as long as you're making progress and can produce enough troops at a time to keep the enemy from destroying buildings) dont give up! Keep producing at the max, and you may just fight them off. If you do, that means that they have probably sent all their troops to try and kill you. Send all your remaining troops to attack thier base quickly, and build reinforcements while they are enroute to the enemy base.

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