It is common to open with one barrack expand without taking gas against Zerg.
The standard metagame before and after the 220.127.116.11 patch is reactor hellion after getting a quick command centre. This opening branches out to various of strategies. There was a period of time when cloaked banshee is the popular follow up. However, after the 18.104.22.168 patch, this may change.
There are two changes that affect TvZ match up.
1. Overlord movement speed increased from 0.4687 to 0.586, that is 25% faster
2. Queen anti-ground weapon attack range increased from 3 to 5
Let’s start with the overlord change. Like I had mentioned earlier, there are various builds that Terran can transit into after reactor hellion. Terran can go into standard marine tank or mech play in general. More specifically, Terran can go into three barracks + one factory, two factory blue flame hellion, cloaked banshee etc. Therefore, it’s crucial for Zerg to sneak an overlord in to scout Terran’s next move. The increased movement speed of overlord will certainly help Zerg to scout the follow up variations. Going back to the topic, this reduces the effectiveness of cloaked banshee follow up build. Although Zerg players will try to be ready against possible cloaked banshee play, but it’s a totally different story when you actually scouted a starport with a tech lab researching something.
The second change is the queen’s anti-ground weapon attack range. As stated by Blizzard, its intention is to help Zerg in TvZ match up in the early game. With reactor hellion being the standard opening, many argued that this may shift the metagame. I won’t argue that this patch helps Zerg to play against hellion opening, but it is not that much of a radical change than many said it is. The purpose of hellion at that point is to control creep spread and deny scouting in general. With the new queen attack range, it is easier to spread the creep, but reactor hellion is still viable. To put it in another way, there hasn’t been any better strategy out there now.
After the patch, I see quite a number of Zerg players rely on queen for early game defense and reduce the production of zerglings. This certainly has economic benefit. Roach is an option for Zerg if Terran is going for a reactor hellion opening. However, the main reason why some Zerg players don’t like getting a roach warren is that roach isn’t useful after the early stage of the game in TvZ match up in general, unless Terran is going mech. To sum it up, the improved queen attack range certainly moved the metagame in the sense that Zerg can defend without considering getting a roach warren, unless he or she wants to do a counter roach push.
Getting back to the topic, it is much less effective to get cloaked banshee against Zerg now. As mentioned earlier, Zerg players get more queens as a defensive measure against hellion. Queen is a good anti air unit. Against banshee, Zerg players will get more queen in response, and plant spore crawlers in the mineral lines. When the first banshee gets to the Zerg’s base, it won’t have cloaked. With two to four queens, the first banshee basically can’t do much. By the time, the second banshee arrives and cloak is upgrade. The Zerg has spore crawlers and queens ready. It is less effective than before.
There are probably two options with banshee follow up play. One is to wait for two banshees with cloaked before going into Zerg’s base. However, the overlord’s increased speed may just nullify this play. Another option is to play a mind game, by attacking with one banshee and do not research cloak. The Zerg player may over react. Even if there’s an over reaction, there will just be two spore crawler which is a more or less equal trade with the opportunity cost of getting a banshee.
Recently Ryung used this build in Antiga Shipyard against Line in Up and Down match. Ryung was going for mech in that game, so it was normal for Line to get roaches throughout the game, even though he likes to get roach in ZvT anyway. Interestingly, Ryung kept making banshee throughout the game and mix into his mech. Roach can’t hit air, so Line has to get mutalisk to kill the banshee. This makes larva management difficult. The numbers of thor also makes it harder to use mutalisk. Pretty interesting way to pin your opponent’s unit composition.
In sum, although reactor hellion opening is still the main stream opening in TvZ, the cloaked banshee variation may get cycle out sooner than later. Personally, I like to use two barracks pressure against Zerg on certain maps, and the queen’s increased range certainly doesn’t help me at all.