It’s only fitting that the first discussion I start with is my favorite opening in the whole world. Eighty-five percent of the games I play involve me using this, especially in the TvZ match up. Let’s go over the basic build order:
10 Supply Depot  (Queue Scout after built)
11 Barracks  (Rally 11th SCV to ramp for wall)
12 Barracks  (Rally 12th SCV to ramp to finish wall)
Produce an SCV so you should be @ 13 Supply before Barracks (1) Finishes
@100 Minerals - Supply Depot 
15/16 Orbital Command
@Complete OC - Mule Drop
Constant Marine & SCV production after second supply depot
At approximately 4:30 - 5:00 you should have 7-8 Marines to poke your opponent with.
Here comes the complicated part, the reactions in different match ups.
15 Hatchery 14 Pool (or any variation of the build)
The 2rax opening with aggression is the hard counter to this build. With proper micro of the marines, you can do an amazing amount of damage to his economy and even destroy his expansion outright. The goal of putting early pressure on this type of build is to force your opponent into making an army, not an economy. Zerg players generally adhere to the “one base ahead” rule, especially against Terran. If you scout this type of build, rally your barracks towards the natural, take 1 or 2 SCV’s off of mining and bring them along and use your scouting SCV to build a bunker near the location of his natural, preferably between the ramp and his hatchery. He will have to react in one of three ways:
Reaction by Zerg #1: Pull Drones to kill SCV and destroy bunker.
This is the most common reaction I have seen thus far, he will pull about 4 - 6 drones off in order to kill the bunker. By the time the bunker is down to under 100 hp, your marines should have arrived and began to pick off the drones. If the bunker completes itself, that is a small victory for you already, if not it is not entirely important, just ensure you pick off as many drones as possible. Pull out when you see too many zerglings, then you know you did your job well.
Reaction by Zerg #2: Make Zerglings
This is another common reaction from less experienced Zerg players, they make zerglings early to deal with the bunker and try to defend with them (as opposed to a much more beneficial Spine Crawler or by sacrificing drones). This is kind of what you want as well with the two Barracks early pressure, however it might be a bit more difficult to deal with if you do not have good stutter micro and depending on the number of zerglings he actually makes. If he takes out your early aggression with a fair amount of lings he may hope to counter attack. In this case unrally your barracks and keep marines behind your wall. He cannot break the wall with only zerglings. It also sets you up for a good transition into a Hellion oriented build (with or w/o Blue Flame).
Reaction by Zerg #3: Spine Crawler / Queen*
This is the reaction by a more experienced Zerg, he knows the value of his drones and does not want to over-commit to your pressure (which is the goal of it, to make Zerg over-commit) and knows he can stop it with minimal drone loss and only a few zerglings, a queen and 1 - 2 spine crawlers. You may be able to take this but it requires much more micro precision and focus on macro back at your base in order to not be behind. NOTE: IF YOU SEE A SPINE CRAWLER MADE AND ROOTED DO NOT ENGAGE! Kill priority:
Morphing Spine Crawlers
Basically, whatever can kill your marines faster should be killed first until you just force him into making zerglings and not drones. A good rule of thumb is to try to force a bunker near the expand and keep the pressure on.
Here is probably one of the most perfect examples of pressure done by the one and only SlayerS_Boxer:
12/13 Pool & 14 Pool w/ Gas (Speedling Expand)
This type of build is a bit trickier to deal with as the Zerg knows his economy will be on par with yours, however his army will be better. The best way to transition from the two barracks is to go for a fast expand rather than pressure, but that is the great thing about the two rax, it can be used as a pressure build or expansion securing one. The best thing to do in this situation is to follow a build order that looks like this (follows from above after poke).
(When scouting no expansion with your poke - move in to main to see amount of zerglings [we will cover what to do when scouting Roach / Banelings later on] and gas taken).
Pull 2 Scv’s off mining and make two bunkers at your natural. One bunker should be very close to your ramp and the other should be near the furthest vespene geyser. to prevent a run around.
If possible bring the scouting marines back to your base and fill them into the bunkers and constantly produce marines from two barracks and make sure you do not supply block yourself.
17 Refinery  (Saturate)
19 Refinery*  (Saturate)
@100 Gas - Factory
21 Supply Depot 
23 / 24 Bunker  (as listed above)
27 Command Center  (in main)
—If scouted Spire—
27 Engineering Bay 
@100% Engineering Bay - 3 Turrets in Main / Natural to protect Scv line.
@100% - OC (when complete drop mule in main and liftoff to natural)
From here, it is your choice of transition. Preferably, a Hellion and marine push would be most effective if he decides to go for a type of Muta/Ling build, just attempt to hit the timing window from when the spire goes down. Once the spire is down, you must move because the Zerg generally saves to get up Mutas at this point.
*You may opt to build a tech lab and/or reactor prior to building the factory, in which gas wait until 150-175 gas, to get everything together, albeit a bit delayed.
Roach/Baneling Play (5/7 Roach Rush, Baneling Bust, all combinations)
The main composition of your army against any scouted Roach / Baneling should be a Marine: Marauder Ratio of appx. 3:1 at worst, the more marauders the better. Forsake another barracks for a double tech lab at this point and get concussive shell as soon as possible. The reason I say this is because of the 125 health of marauders to tank damage from the banelings and also the bonus damage vs roaches. From here it is your choice of the tech path, many prefer siege tanks to hard counter the banelings and ensure that you can save your fragile marines. A few hellions early may also help out against a Baneling/ Ling rush type scenario as well. Marauder/ Hellion is also a very viable build to counter this as well, although my experience with such a build.
Double Factory (Reactor / Tech Lab) Blue Flame Hellions*
This is my personal choice to follow up if you did a fair amount of early damage and do not scout or scan a Roach Warren in production. You will be able to put out 3 Hellions at a time in addition to 2 marines and be able to take on his massive ling force set to defend against strictly marines. Ensure he does not scout this though or Roaches will be there to greet you.
*Be wary of the Evolution Chamber / Spine Crawler ramp wall that can stop Hellions from passing.
4 Barracks Rush
Far from my personal choice (I either go 6rax or no more rax pressure at all initially) This build adds two more barracks to put increasing pressure onto a Zerg player, however I dislike this because once he begins to transition, if you do not kill him outright, you will be behind as he will work off two bases and eventually overwhelm you with a combination of lings and presumably mutalisks or baneling/roach combo. I would ONLY recommend using this transition if you know for a fact that the expansion is going down and his tech route is staying with lings to defend, or if you are confident you can take out his pool / mass drones.
A more viable option and my second choice against a Zerg going for banelings and speedlings for overwhelming. This can also work out of the double factory (after the initial hellions, switch the factory and attach a tech lab and build a starport on the reactor for some hellion / marine drop harass). You will need two bases in order to keep constant double tank production (300 / 250 a minute for tanks on top of the initial 100/100 for siege tech). Once you are at 3 tanks, 2 high ground 1 low ground you can safely expand without fear of too many lings. Turtle from here and begin drop harass as soon as possible.
6/7Rax All In
If anyone has seen the match between TLO and IdrA at Dreamhack (or in MLG I believe, this is pretty self explanatory. This can devastate if not scouted.
3/2/1 Harass Build (vs. Roach / Bling)
Personal build of mine. Opens with a 2rax aggression opening followed up by either an expansion or double gas after the initial poke and then adding a third barracks…2tech/1 reactor. After this push out again and begin teching into double factory (switch factories with 1 tech lab and 1 reactor and go either blue flame or switch with double tech lab for tank productions then proceed to starport for drop harass on reactor. Still working out the kinks, I’ll post something on this later.
The biggest pitfall of this for me was forgetting my macro. MACRO > MICRO. Once I stopped caring about losing my marines and focused on teching up, I began winning much more early game match ups with Zerg.
If you are ahead, ensure that you constantly get ahead. Take expansions whenever you can secure them and deny them where you can.
Harass and attempt to keep the Zerg turtled.
Kill off creep when possible.
Hope this helps, cheers,
- averagefred posted this