ZvP: Stephano Roaches vs. FFE
Stephano is undoubtedly one of the best zerg players on the scene right now. So it only seemed natural to analyze his play style vs. Protoss, as it happens to be my worst matchup. I love the simplicity and power behind this build, and have adopted it into my standard playbook.
Strategy and build order:
The objective is to take an early 3rd, delay gas, then attack a 2 base FFE Protoss with a +1 (range) roach/ling army around 11 minutes (160/200), then reinforce and max to 200/200 around 12:00. The build looks something like this (EDIT: I updated the build order below based on some community feedback, thanks!):
- 12-14 Spawning Pool
- 16-20 2nd Hatch
- 4:20 3rd Hatch
- 6:00 2 gas
- 7:15 Roach Warren + Evo Chamber
- 8:00-9:00 Lair, Metabolic Boost, +1 Range (or Melee for BL switch later)
- 9:00 3rd gas
- 9:00 Roach/ling production
- Consider a macro hatch and/or a 4th
- 10:00 Roach Speed
- 10:30-11:00 Attack (around 160/200)
- 12:00 MAX, continue attacking
- 13:00+ Expand, upgrade, constant swarm of roach/ling
As always, it’s important to use lings to constantly scout and deny proxy pylons and probes. 2 base warp gate timings can hit as early as 9:00, so be prepared to fight. Build just enough lings to defend yourself from early pressure and zealot harass, be careful not to overproduce or overcommit.
When you make your first push around 160/200 (10:30-11:00), be sure to rally reinforcements and keep up on injects. Target the cybernetics core and cannons if they’re part of the wall. Position your army carefully, be wary of forcefields, and use ling run bys where possible (if they’re trying to take a 3rd for example).
EDIT: Redditor confusedx left this comment, felt it was worth including here:
I wouldn’t recommend this style for zergs that have poor ability to quickly macro up 3 bases. Stephano generally gets ~70-75 supply when the 8th minute mark hits, that’s ~60 drones. If you can’t match this (or come reasonably close), your push is either going to be laughably weak or VERY all in.
Also, DON’T OVER COMMIT. One of Stephano’s many talents is knowing when to back off, and you should figure that out too. He very rarely wins from this swell of units. If the toss can safely get his third up, you should have 5 bases. Contest EVERY expansion that toss tries to take (ling run-by’s are good) on your way to blord/infestor with upgrades.
It’s a fun style, lots of tosses rage at it :P
Make sure to scout with an overlord around 8:00 to scout for stargate, heavy robo, or dark templars. Mutalisks or infestors are good tech choices for a transition into late game, but don’t let that deter you form pushing.