Zerg Basic Units Explained – Starcraft II

If you’re new to Starcraft II or don’t quite understand Zerg units fully hopefully this post can help. I’ll be going over every single basic Zerg unit and explaining what it can and cannot do. The Zerg race is pretty complex and requires certain tech to build most units so I’ll also include what is needed to make each unit. We’ll be starting with the most basic units in this post, future posts will include the more advanced Zerg units.

In all descriptions below you will see the term HP, this means Hit Points. If a unit has 50HP and is attacked by another unit that deals 25HP damage, it will die after two attacks.


Drone – The Drone is the worker unit for Zerg. It can harvest Minerals and Gas as well as build any Zerg structure at the cost of its life. So if you make a structure with one (Spine Crawler, Spawning Pool, Hydralisk Den, etc) always remember to make a drone to replace it. The Drone like other Zerg units regenerates life if damaged, as long as it isn’t fully killed it will eventually come back to full health of 40HP.

If you have to fight with Drones, just pull the damaged ones away and you should lose very few. They can only attack ground units like all other workers. It does NOT get a speed boost when moving on creep, unlike other Zerg units. Each Drone is 1 supply and costs 50 minerals. You can build Drones from a Hatchery, no other tech is required.


Overlord – The Overlord provides Supply for the Zerg race. Each Overlord costs 100 minerals and provides 8 supply. They are slow moving units that cannon attack but they provide an excellent scouting tool for the Zerg race. If you research the Pneumatized Carapace (100minerals/100gas) upgrade their speed increases from .586 to 1.88. An Overlord has 200HP.

You can also research Ventral Sacs at the hatchery which allows Overlords to transport other Zerg units but you need Lair tech on the Hatchery for this upgrade. If you have Lair tech the Overlord will also be able to generate creep in a 2×2 area. This is often used to block the placement of buildings when playing against Terran or Protoss. Overlords can be morphed into Overseers once you have Lair tech.


Zergling – The Zergling is the heart of the Zerg army and are often referred to simply as “Lings”. They require only a Spawning Pool in order to be made and are the main unit you’ll use when sending an early attack as Zerg. You have probably heard the term Speedling (Lings with Metabolic Boost upgrade) or Crackling (Lings with Metabolic Boost & Adrenal Glands), these are both terms used to describe upgraded Zerglings.  Each Zergling has 35HP.

The cost of a single Zergling is 25 minerals but you cannot just make one, they are made in pairs. So you’ll spend 50 minerals per pair of Lings. Each pair requires 1 supply, so 100 Zerglings only uses up 50 supply. The Metabolic Boost upgrade gives Zerglings visible wings and makes them very fast, especially while moving on creep. The Adrenal Glands upgrade boosts Zergling attack speed by 18.6%. The Boost upgrade is an absolute must and only requires 100minerals/100gas to acquire but it increases Zergling speed by 60% from 2.9531 to 4.6991. In order to get the Adrenal Glands upgrade you’ll need to have Hive tech on your Hatchery. The Zergling can only attack ground units. It has a speed multiplier of 1.3 when moving on creep. They can be morphed into Banelings once a Baneling Nest has been built. They are weak against Hellions, Colossus, and Banelings in battle but strong against Marauders, Stalkers and Hydralisks.


Roach – The Roach is an armored ground unit with a ranged (4) attack. They cannot shoot at air units, but are very effective in ground battles. They have a fairly HP at 145, each Roach takes up 2 supply and costs 75minerals/25gas. You must have a Roach Warren before you can make Roaches, the only requirement to make a Roach warren is a spawning pool. The cost of a Roach Warren is 150 minerals. The Roach is very potent versus Hellions, Zealots, and Zerglings. They are weak against any air units because they cannot fight back, they are also not good when fighting directly against Ultralisks, Immortals, and Marauders.

They have two upgrades available, both of which require lair tech on the hatchery but are researched at the Roach Warren.  The first upgrade is Glial Reconstruction – it costs 100 minerals/100gas and increases Roach speed from 2.25 to 3.0. The second upgrade is Tunneling Claws which costs 150minerals/150gas, it gives the Roach the ability to move while burrowed at a speed of 2.0. It also increases the health regeneration while burrowed to 10hp/sec from the original 5hp/sec. The Roach also has a 1.3 speed multiplier when moving on creep. You must research burrow at the hatchery before you can utilize the Tunneling Claws upgrade.


Queen – The Queen is by far the most important Zerg unit, they have many uses and have the ability to attack air units as well as ground units. The ability to shoot at air units make them invaluable due to the lack of air defense from all the other basic Zerg units aside from the spore crawler. Each Queen costs 150 minerals, uses up 2 supply and has 175HP. The attack range is 5 for ground and 7 for air. The Queen is strong against Void Rays, Hellions and Mutalisks but are weak against Marines, Zerglings, and Zealots. They move extremely slow off creep at only .938 but on creep move at 2.5 thanks to the 2.667 speed multiplier on creep. You must have a Spawning pool in order to create Queens from the Hatchery.

You want to have at least 1 queen per hatchery when playing as Zerg. This is mostly because of the Spawn Larvae spell the queen possesses. It should be used every single chance possible. The spell requires 25 energy (of 200 possible from a Queen if you let it max out, which it never should) in order to use. The Queen will inject 4 Larvae onto the Hatchery with this spell which helps create units much faster as Zerg. If you have 4 hatcheries and inject them all regularly you’ll be able to produce dozens of units at once thanks to all the larvae you’ll have available.

The second spell a Queen has is the ability to spawn creep tumors. This uses 25 energy as well, the same as the Spawn Larvae spell. The Queen can place one anywhere creep already exists. Once it is placed it becomes burrowed, so other races must have detection to kill them. The creep tumor can also be used to spawn another, as long as the live one isn’t killed. These are very valuable tools to connect Zerg bases with creep. You can also cover the entire map if given enough time, giving you vision over the entire map since each creep tumor provides vision in the area it covers. Each Tumor has 50HP.

The last and also very important spell the Queen has is called Transfusion. This uses a large amount of energy at 50 compared to the other 2 spells but is extremely useful. It is used to regenerate health immediately to any Zerg unit or structure. The Transfuse adds 125 health instantly so it can save a building, another Queen or even large units such as Ultralisks. It is not useful for lower HP units for the most part but for buildings or high HP units it can be life saving.  You will often see Zerg players bring Queens along with the army just for the Transfuse ability.


Baneling – The Baneling is a suicidal Zerg ground unit. It cannot be made directly from the Hatchery like most other Zerg units but is instead morphed from a Zergling once a Baneling Nest (100minerals/100gas, requires Spawning pool) has been constructed. Each Baneling takes up .5 supply, the same as a Zergling. They move at a speed of 2.5 off creep and 3.25 on creep thanks to the 1.3 speed multiplier on creep. They only damage ground units but do additional damage to light units and have 30HP.

The only upgrade a Baneling can have is researched from the Baneling Nest once you have Lair tech. It is called Centrifugal Hooks and increases the movement speed of the Baneling which will roll instead of crawl once the upgrade is completed. The speed increase is .4531, bringing the off creep speed to 2.9531.

It is strongest against Marines, Zerglings, and Zealots. The splash damage can wipe out large amounts of enemy units. They are weak against Marauders, Stalkers and Roaches. You can either let the Baneling attack and detonate on its own or trigger the suicide attack by pressing X. It will cover a range of 2.2 upon detonation. If you have Burrow researched you can hide burrowed Banelings all around your base and enemies base, when large groups of enemy units walk over them you can trigger the detonation wiping out your opponents army or at the very least dropping the health of their units significantly.

You may hear the term “Baneling Bust” used, this refers to the use of Banelings to bust through a walled off opponents base. The Banelings will explode on the enemies wall of buildings and with enough of them break through. Thus allowing Zerglings or other Zerg units to rush in and attack the enemy before they can repair the wall.


Spore Crawler – The Spore Crawler is a very useful defensive Zerg unit. They provide detection for starters, which will reveal any cloaked/burrowed units within a range of 11. The attack range is 7 and they only attack Air units. This is useful because the Zerg race lacks any air attacks aside from the Queen in the early game where only basic units are available. So if your opponent sends some sort of early air attack having 1 or even multiple Spore Crawlers can save you. They have a whopping 400HP allowing them to take massive damage before dying.

Much like the Spine Crawler below, the Spore can be uprooted and moved. It moves at 1.0 off creep and 2.5 on creep, it must be placed on creep as well. They must be rooted in order to attack and detect cloaked units. The cost of a Spore Crawler is 75 minerals and is morphed from a Drone, so make sure to replace the Drone after you make a Spore Crawler. You only need a Spawning pool in order to make Spore Crawlers. It is useful to place one in or around each mineral line to defend against attacks. It can also useful to put one at the front of your base for detection in the very early game if you see your opponent going for some sort of fast cloaked attack before you have an Overseer available.


Spine Crawler – The Spine Crawler is a defensive (and sometimes offensive) unit available once you have a Spawning pool. They cost 100 minerals each and are morphed from a Drone, make sure to replace the Drone for each Spine Crawler built. They have 300HP, making them very strong defensive units. It can only attack ground units but does bonus damage to armored ground units. The range of attack is 7, which is fairly high. You do not need to research burrow in order to uproot and move the Spine Crawler.

The Spine Crawler must be placed on creep, if the creep around it is removed it will begin to lose HP. They can be uprooted and moved but move very slowly off creep at only 1.0, they move at 2.5 on creep. They also cannot attack while moving, only while rooted. In a Zerg versus Zerg match you can place Spine Crawlers directly in your opponents base because they too have creep. They out range a Bunker with a Marine in it, so are good tools to counter a Bunker Rush. They do not out range the Bunker if it has a Marauder in it.


That is it for basic Zerg units. hopefully this post helps you understand the Zerg race a little more. If you need any other help or have questions feel free to leave a comment below.

Check back soon as we’ll be adding more posts covering the more advance Zerg units as well as units for all the other Starcraft II races.

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