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Zergling
Hit Points: 35
Size: Small
Supply: 0.5
Cost: 25
Build Time: 28
Produced at: Hatchery
Requires: Spawning Pool
Base Ground Attack: 5
Base Air Attack: N/A
Base Armor: 0
Range: 1
Sight: 5
Cooldown: 8 (6 with upgrade)
Production Hot Key: Z

The small, savage Zergling is one of the few breeds that a core species has been found for. It is so closely related to the dune-runners of Zz’gash that it is believed that the Zerg at some point encountered and "absorbed" the DNA structure of the dune-runners. Mutated by the Zerg to be more efficient killers, the voracious Zergling are capable of ripping a larger creature to shreds with their razor-edged forearms and sharp fangs. Their DNA structure is so simple that two Zerglings can be created from a single Larva.

Zerglings are the first producible attack units the Zerg have at their disposal. With the ability to spawn in pairs, they can be produced in large numbers in a very short period of time. They serve as prime choices for rushing and depending on the build order used, they can execute the fastest rush in the game. Their small size and large pack movement make them virtually impossible to select one at a time, making it difficult for an enemy to systematically destroy them.

Although the Zergling is small and relatively low in vitality (HP), do not understimate their usefulness. In addition to the early game rush, Zerglings can be a vital tool in the later game as well serving as the frontline of an attack backed by Hydralisks, Mutalisks, or Guardians. As cannon fodder, they give the more expensive units a longer lifespan and better attack potential while they tie up the enemy. Also, since Zerglings require no Vespene gas to be produced, they are a good choice to use up the usual mineral overhead that is accumulated in the later game to balance the gas usage for the more advanced breeds.

In some cases, the Zerglings don't even need to be used as decoys or fodder. Once their melee attack, Carapace, Metabolic Boost and Adrenal Glands have been upgraded/evolved, they can be a huge threat when built in substantial numbers. A swarm of 100 or more fully upgraded Zerglings can be fairly cheap for the amount of sheer havoc they can wreak. The unending flood of these units can cause even the most stalwart enemy to tremble in their feet.

Race Specific Strategies
Against the Terrans Zerglings are useful for mobbing groups of Marines. They are not as useful if the Marines are accompanied by Medics or Firebats and especially not if the Marines are in a Bunker. They are also handy for clearing out sieged Tanks since the Tanks are unable to hit areas directly adjacent to them, but again, if those Tanks are covered by Bunkers, using Zerglings can be a bad idea.

Against the Protoss the Zerglings are good against Zealots but even better against Dragoons. The slow firing Dragoons a simply no match for a large group of the fast attacking Zerglings (which they are almost all the time). Zerglings are also helpful for catching High Templar off guard during their recharge period, but use caution when targeting them since a single Psionic Storm can slaughter Zerglings by the dozen.

Against the Zerg use Zerglings to tie up Sunken Colonies while using Hydralisks to finish them off. Zerglings are also a good counter against Hydralisks (since Hydralisks deal explosive damage) but be sure to outnumber them at least 5 to 1 for a succesful attack/counter. Zerglings also work well against the slow and cumbersome Ultralisks. However, be sure to have a high ratio of Zerglings in these encounters.

If Defilers are available, Zerglings make the perfect counterpart for them. They can be used for the Defiler's Consume ability, quickly recharging the Defiler's energy stores. Also, when Zerglings are used in combination with the Defiler's Dark Swarm ability, they can really cause massive damage (since only melee attack units can hit beneath a Dark Swarm). With a Dark Swarm over a blockade of Siege Tanks/Bunkers or Photon Cannons, Zerglings can make quick work of them, clearing a path so that the more powerful ranged attack units like Hydralisks can break through.

Using the Burrow Ability
Zerglings can also be evolved to gain the ability to Burrow. With it, they can be used to burrow at resource nodes or choke points to keep track of enemy expansion or movement. With their extremely low cost, burrowed Zerglings can cover an entire map making it much easier to plan out strategies or defenses.

If using the Zerglings to spot expansions, there are two methods for burrowing. One, place the Zergling in the spot that is closest to the minerals and gas and your opponent will not be able to build at that particular spot either forcing them to build at a position further away from the resources (which will slow down the expansion's resource efficiency) or move to another resource node. The other method is to burrow a Zergling right next to or behind the mineral clusters at a resource node. This will make it very hard for an opponent to notice it, even with detection, and they won't suspect that they've been spotted. Once they begin the expansion construction, strike before they can defend the position and hopefully you'll be able to destroy the rising structures before the enemy can cancel, forcing them to forfeit the cost to build those structures.

Zerglings swarm a Zealot Zerglings and Sunkens fight Zealots

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A group of Zerglings swarm a Zealot.

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Zerglings and Sunken Colonies fend off a Zealot attack.

Zerglings raid mining operations Zerglings raze an enemy Zerg town

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Zerglings sneak into the rear of a base and attack enemy Drones mining.

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Zerglings quickly raze an enemy Zerg brood.

Zerglings and Zealots faceoff Zerglings chase down Templars

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Zerglings engaging Zealots with a little help from a Lurker.

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Zerglings are excellent for destroying enemy Templar with their cheap cost and quick attack and movement.

Countermeasures

Terrans

  • Stimpacked Marines/Firebats backed by Medics make quick work of Zerglings.
  • Bunkers filled with Marines/Firebats and repaired by SCVs can quickly stop a Zergling invasion.
  • Use the Vulture's Spidermines to clear out patches of attacking Zerglings.
  • Any aerial unit with ground attack (Wraiths or Battlecruisers) can destroy Zerglings with complete impunity.

Terrans fend off Zerglings Medics, Marines, Firebats butcher Zerglings

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Bunkers being repaired by SCVs can fend off large amounts of Zerglings. Try to attack targets outside the defensive range of the Bunkers.

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Groups of Firebats, Marines and Medics pile up the Zergling carcasses.

Protoss

  • Zealots with at least a 1:2 ratio against Zerglings will usually prevail. If upgraded to +1 Ground Weapons, the Zealots will be able to kill unupgraded Zerglings with only 2 strikes rather than 3.
  • Photon Cannons can make quick work of small/midsized groups of Zerglings.
  • Scouts or Carriers can attack Zerglings with complete impunity.
  • Reavers can cause massive damage to groups of Zerglings.
  • The High Templar's Psionic Storm can ravage groups of Zerglings.
  • The Archon with its splash damage attack can mow down Zerglings (works even better if there is a group of Archons).

Scouts halt a Zergling advance Reavers Massacre Zerglings

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Scouts halt a Zergling advance.

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A Reaver takes out large numbers of Zerglings. Photon Cannons and Zealots support the Reaver.

Zerg

  • Hydralisks with Grooved Spines (increased range upgrade) can work well against small/midsized groups of Zerglings.
  • Tightly packed Sunken Colony groups can quickly impale incoming Zerglings.
  • Lurkers can destroy droves of Zerglings, even if they are detected.
  • Mutalisk or Guardians can attack Zerglings with complete impunity.
Upgrades

Burrow Burrow
100 100
Melee Melee Attacks
Level 1 - 100 100
Level 2 - 150 150
Level 3 - 200 200
Carapace Carapace
Level 1 - 150 150
Level 2 - 225 225
Level 3 - 300 300
Metabolic Boost Metabolic Boost
100 100
Faster Zergling movement
Adrenal Glands Adrenal Glands
200 200
Faster Zergling attack

Burrow - With the Burrow ability, Zerglings will be able to hide from more powerful foes, watch an area undetected, and ambush the enemy.

Melee Attacks - Each upgrade adds +1 to Melee Attacks for a total of +3 when fully upgraded.

Carapace - Each upgrade adds +1 to the Carapace for a total of +3 when fully upgraded.

Metabolic Boost - This will allow your Zerglings to travel across the map much more quickly, and reach their targets at a faster rate.

Adrenal Glands - This upgrade gives the Zerglings a faster attack and combined with the Metabolic Boost, the adrenalized Zerglings can reach and attack an enemy at an alarming rate, quickly tearing down any opposing enemy force or base.



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