Disclaimer: This method of play is for higher end diamond/master/GM players. Also, most of what I have written will not be understood at first glance.
First, lets break down the stages of the game for ZvT. Currently, there are 4 MAIN stages and an infinite amount of sub-stages between the basic 4.
Against a Standard Terran, it is classified into Factory or Barracks play; lets go through these. To start out, I'm just going to list the units you will see, following that, I will list the strategies.
2 Barracks Stages:
1. Marine push
2. Stim Marine push or Marine/Blue flame
3. Marine/Tank push
4. Marine/Tank/Medivac Push
5. Late Game
So, what is needed to deal with these pushes?
3. Zergling/Baneling (burrow banes)
4. Zergling/Baneling Muta
5. Zergling/Baneling/Muta -> 2-4 infestors in your army and Hive Tech
Having listed these pushes and counters, what can we derive from this information?
- For the first 2 pushes, only tier 1 is needed--- this also means you can take 3 bases and just play off 1 gas (only 2 queens are necessary until around 60 supply)
- For the 3rd push, lair tech + burrow is needed
- For the 4th push, muta are needed to keep the medivac count low
Now, I'm going to go over how to play my 14/14 21 build:
1. If you see no gas taken from the terran in the beginning, ling from larve 16-27. This does indeed put you behind if he expands, however, it also keeps you safe because when the lings at 27 supply hatch, they have ling speed. Also, it allows for you to put pressure should they expand.
1a. After this push is defeated or doesn't happen, the first thing to assess is if the Terran expanded. If the CC is complete and landing, you should throw an overlord into the base 30-45 seconds later. ******Important: If the terran is not building a CC to expand at this time, he is probably gonna All-IN you.******
Assuming he is expanding:
Now, when that overlord scouts you are looking for what I call the first important transition. It is either A. 2 Factory with 1 tech lab or B. 2 Additional Raxes with only 1 Tech Lab. Having found this information out, you can now prepare correctly for push #2.
1b. While this transition is occurring, what are you doing? Well, simple really.... Droning and taking a 3rd base. With the zerglings you created in the beginning, you are safe from any small pressure. Not only that, you can break down any rocks at your third and are safe to expand during this time.
Push #2----What to do when you scout his transition:
If you scout your opponent while he is making the buildings, you have 2 injects remaining to drone. However, if the buildings are complete and the unit count is low, you have 1.
Upon seeing 4 rax:
- Put guys on gas, take your second gas, and throw down a banes next ASAP
- Get as many zerglings as you can and really be sure to connect creep to all bases
- Once the bane nest pops, you should be able to produce 7-9 banes
Engaging 4 Rax Stim:
Against this push you have 2 options---
1. Poke at the marines randomly in attempts to force a stim. If you do, you've already won
2. Run past his marines creating a wall (on creep) and allow the banes to smash right into him. Once you master this, I can show you different ways against stronger opponents.
Upon Seeing 2 Fac hellion + 2 rax marine:
1. Drop a Roach warren
2. Get 3 gas
3. 1-2 spines
4. Produce a 2/1 ratio between Ling/Roach. You really want about 8-10 roaches and 20 lings.
Engaging Marine/Hellion push:
1. You want your lings to surround the hellion without balling upon to tank the first blast. Picture this in your mind! When the hellions are in a line attacking something, their weakness is truthfully their side because each hellion will be shooting in 1 direction. So, engageing with lings from their side will be the most effective considering they cannot get enough angles to deal with the lings.
M M M
H H H H H --->>> Shoots <----- Zerglings Coming in split into 2 groups, 1 Top/Bottom
M M M
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
R R R R R R
So, Now that you have dealt with this push, Where do I go from here?!
Simple!!!!! SCOUT his 3rd and Scout his Main. This is the SECOND transitional phase. Scouting here will tell you if he is going to go into mech play or Bio. If it is indeed mech, just replace push #3 with hellion/tank/thor. Each push really comes at the same time each game....
Scouting 3+ fac = Mech---- Go Roach/Infestor with neural and on attack upgrades for range.
Scouting 4+ rax = Bio --- Go Ling/Bane ---- POSSIBLY MUTA
Now, we're going to focus on the Bio Push because beating mech is simple.... just neural the thors and 1a the roaches. Victory.
Depending on the previous push, you already know which unit to focus more on between the baneling and the muta. At this point you're probably like... wtf did you just say? Its simple really.... lets break it down.
Assuming it was a 4 rax stim push, this means he will have a less heavy tank army because the factories to support his army do not exist yet === LEss Tanks
Assuming it was a 2rax/2fac blue flame push, this means he will have MORE tanks in his army because the factories exist to support his production.
This information is crucial because it tell you how balanced his army will be.
Against the 4rax you'll want burrowed banes and a heavy ling/bane army because his army will be Largely Bio.
Against the 2fac/2rax you'll want mostly Muta because he will heavier on the tank side. (always get burrow banes though!!! Small investment, huge payout.)
Engaging this push:
1. Burrow banes kill it you win.
1. While you are setting this up, muta are harassing the tanks and his base. SOMEtimes by harassing his base like the supply lines (barracks) the terran goes into push mode. As soon as you see the tanks start to unsiege, engage. If not, oh well
2. take the first army and position it behind his army
3. take the army that is about to spawn and morph 4-5 banes and have it in front of his army
4. Attack when you feel you have superior numbers or he is un-sieged.
5. You can 1a the ground army but have the mutas target specifically the tanks. IF IT IS transition from the 4BARRACKS, have muta aim the tanks. If it is transition from the 2rax/2fac, aim the marines.
Alright, brain is now fried and my mind is seeing tanks blast away 500000 lings.
Lastly, if the terran fast expands, eliminate push #1 and proceed to push #2. IF at any time the terran expands, eliminate the push number that is supposed to be next and proceed to the following number.
This should really be enough for you to get your footing.