SC2 Week: Meet the Zergling

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There are 48 units in StarCraft 2. Through next Friday, we’re highlighting seven of our favorite pieces of sci-fi military equipment in Blizzard’s follow-up. Third in our series is the penny of the hive mind, the Zergling.


Race: Zerg
What it is: The pinky finger of the Zerg’s many-armed menagerie
Build cost: 50 minerals
Build time: 24 sec
Requires: Spawning Pool
Supply: 1
Real-world analog: African, ankle-gnawing ants
Armament: Claws
Best against: Marines, resourcing units
Worst enemies: Zealot (Protoss), Colossus (Protoss), Siege Tank (Terran), Hellion (Terran)
Advantages: Raw speed, cheap, can morph into Banelings
Disadvantages: 35 hit points (that’s almost half of a Terran SCV),
Quote: “[sound of unsettling hatching]; [insectoid scurry]; [slurp].”

Who it’s for: Impatient players that value aggressive finesse over cerebral, prepared strategy. Pushing “all-in” with a Zergling rush can be an attractive tactic, but if you fail, the invested resources could leave you defenseless against higher-tiered units.

Available upgrades
Metabolic Boost (100 minerals, 100 gas) - Increases Zergling movement speed
Adrenal Glands (200 minerals, 200 gas) - Increases Zergling attack rate by 20%.
Plasma Shields (200 minerals, 200 gas) - Increases armor.

Our take:

The pawns of their race, Zerglings are the embodiment of the overused, oversimplifying battle call “Zerg rush!” They rely on overwhelming numbers and raw speed to deal death by a thousand cuts. Also see: the oldest trick in the StarCraft book.

A brood Zerglings often attack before an opponent is fully scouted; players that employ a Zergling rush rely on the speed of their early economics to crank out a pile of cheap attackers. The best defense against a ‘Ling swarm (other than countering with armored units) is scouting your opponent and protecting your base by blocking entrances.

In the early and mid-game, Zerglings’ ability to transform into a suicide unit, the Baneling. At the cost of 50 minerals and 50 gas, ‘Lings become acid-filled, volatile bulbs that detonate on contact, unleashing painful splash damage on anything nearby.

(Front page Zergling art by Mr.--Jack.)