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I see a lot of threads asking for advice, and I've watched a lot of replays. Here are a few things I continually see go wrong for low level players. Chances are if your not making these mistakes, your on your way to promotion.
1) Scout! - Seems too obvious to list as #1, but it's really that important. Keeping a unit outside the front of your enemies base, knowing when they expand, and positioning your overlords to sack them later is very important. Most low level players remember to scout, but they don't keep up with it. If your unit outside their base to a zealot, make it a point to get another unit over there.
Zerg strategy changes significantly depending on how many bases the opponent has. Zerg may opt for a much earlier gas against an opponent who hasn't expanded so they can make roaches. 16+ minutes into the game, the game can be won by knowing when your opponent has expanded and killing the expansion. Learn to scout, learn to control expansions. If you don't know what tech route your opponent is doing, you may choose to sack an overlords. ~5 minutes for 1 base opponents,, ~7 minutes (6:30 is probably better) for 2 base opponents.
2) Larva and overlords. Spend your larva. Most players acquire more minerals than they can spend. If you spend all your larva and have over 1000 minerals, make another hatchery. Think of overlords in terms of larva. How many larva will finish after my inject and what unit do I want to make? Do I have enough supply?
3) Gas timing. - There's a lot of variation for gas timings. Rather then trying to find the perfect time or build, think of it in terms of when you want something. If you want ling speed, get gas. If you want lair units, you need 3-4 gasses.
A common mistake is to start mining gas, but have nothing to spend it on. If you get ling speed and don't need gas, don't be afraid to pull guys off gas. You'll find it's best to have mineral saturation (2x drones per patch) on 2 bases before trying to add on your 3rd and 4th gasses. Adding them on too early will leave you very poor and unable to spend your gas while expanding or producing more drones. You simply won't have the minerals.
4) Saturation! - Most players are pretty good at this because it's stressed so much. If you have the option to make combat units or drones and you aren't fully saturated, make drones. Full saturation is 2 1/2 drones per mineral patch, Optimal is 2 drones per mineral patch. If your at 2 bases, go for 2 1/2 drones, if your on 3 you can go for the optimal level. Notice I said, if you have the option, that means if they aren't going to kill you before your next larva inject will finish.
5) Upgrades! - Starting at lair, upgrade with 2 evo chambers. This is something that a lot of low level players are surprisingly good at, but it's still important enough to make the list.
If you run into a situation that isn't covered above, feel free to post a replay and ask for advice. There are many experienced zerg players who would be happy to help.
Edited by Kaz on 1/9/2013 2:51 PM PST
Don't forget to expand! This is a biggie. You can't throw wave after wave of unit at an opponent unless you have AT LEAST three or four bases.
Spine Crawlers are better than you might think. Don't be afraid to build a few. Generally, you need fewer against Terran than you will against Protoss.
The counter to Roaches is Roaches, though if you survive long enough, Infestors, and Ultralisks will do the trick. Spine Crawlers can also do wonders against them.
Overlords are units! Position them where it will be most beneficial! Put them along routes where incoming drops may be spotted. Use them to detect an opponent expanding, sacrifice them if you need to for scouting info, and gunk up their expansion with Generate Creep if you get the chance.
Learn to use Infestors!! As you get better and fight better opponents, this unit often becomes the only way to win or just break even.
Get good at Spawning Larva, and try not to forget it! If you find yourself slipping or floating a lot of minerals, don't be afraid to morph in a macro Hatch!
Edited by RabbitHazard on 1/13/2013 11:12 PM PST
remember, when you hold off an attack - always drone behind it. many low level players immediately go for a counter...nonono drone.
Considering that this thread is for low level zerg players, it is likely that they'll be matched up against other low level players and honestly, a low level Terran marine army isn't threatening at all. If you scout and see how many Barracks they have, you can simply throw down a couple of spine crawlers and blings to defend a relatively large marine army. The huge mistake that all low level zerg players make is that they always counter immediately and stop making drones at 20 supply. Later, they completely forget about making anymore drones and fall way behind in the resource income which results in the zerg being obliterated. As KILLorD has mentioned, droning is probably one of the most essential things for zergs. Exact larva injections and droning are probably the most two important things for any low level zergs to gain the upper hand.
oddly enough he was watching viewer replays - and it was a terran player. the guy attacked with some medic-less bio timing attacks, and the guy held it off, but opted to make more units instaed of drone after and it put him behind when he attacked.
but i see what you're saying there :p that's a tough way to lose ><!
Edited by KILLorD on 1/14/2013 9:53 PM PST
The weird thing is that you want to be making drones before the fight ends. It's easy to be spamming units during a battle, and then you win the fight before all those units hatch. you want those to be drones.
but also it's really easy to die when it goes the other way.
it's easiest to judge in zvz. p and t can both snowball on you severely if you droned and they win a fight with just a few units.
but you should be able to judge when you can start sneaking in drones during a fight (maybe not a full wave of drones)
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