The last Hellbat patch has changed the dynamics of the opening and early mid game of TvZ. Since then, there has been various forms of Hellbat build. But none of these builds is as aggressive as the one I am going to discuss in this post.
There is a bit of history to this build.
At the beginning of Heart of the Swarm, there is a three Command Centre paradigm whereby getting a third Command Centre early is the norm. Later, there is a shift of metagame away from this paradigm due to the all-in of Zerg, and it is during this time when this two base timing was developed. Back then, there were two main types of two base timing, either with Hellbat or without it.
The build in this post is based on the latter (without Hellbat), but with the improvement based on the latest Hellbat patch.
It does not do anything fancy in the opening, and converges to the reactor Hellion convergent point in TvZ. The key difference about this build is the early two Barracks instead of a third Command Centre or other form of tech (Medivac, Viking, Banshee, Hellbat etc.). This sets up to a mid game timing when these Barracks’ production kicks in. The attack is consisted of Marine, Marauder, Medivac, Widow Mine and Hellion. The contemporary version changes the Hellion to Hellbat, which is obviously for the better.
Flash recently brought this up against Snute in HSC and SoulKey in Hotsix Cup (vod below). Flash’s timing did hit well against SoulKey, but the build is the same.
10 – Supply Depot
14 – Command Centre
15 – Barracks
16 – Refinery
@100% Barracks – 2x Orbital Command. Bunker. 2x Marines
@100 gas – Factory
@50 gas – Reactor on Barracks
@100% Bunker – Supply Depot
@300 mineral – 2x Barracks, then Refinery and Supply Depot
@100% Reactor – Swap Factory onto Reactor and produce Hellions. Tech Lab on the first Barracks (@100% – Stim)
Use the same Scv to keep building Supply Depot. Produce 6x Hellions (3x production cycle)
@100% 2x Barracks – Reactor on both of them
@100 gas – Starport, then Refinery
Keep producing Marines. Lift Factory after the 3rd pair of Hellions, and produce Hellion one by one. Build Supply Depot accordingly.
@100% Starport – Swap it onto the Reactor used by the Factory and produce Medivacs. Then, Armory
Push out when the first pair of Medivacs is out. Stim and Armory will be completed by the time you reach the other side.
This can kill the opponent straight away, if opponent is not prepared. The build takes an early second Refinery, which usually is the same for Hellbat and/or Banshee builds. If Zerg scouted the early second gas and not the additional Barracks, s/he may think that it is one of those Hellbat or Banshee builds. Snute did exactly that in the game against Flash, as he reacted by building Spore Crawlers (Banshee is popular on that map).
Like I’ve said, the build is very similar to the older version. The resource spent on the Engineering Bay and +1 attack upgrade is now invested in the Armory. Although the old version has another slight variation without the +1 upgrade, the build doesn’t really change. Another thing to take note is the production from the Factory after it has produced 6 Hellions. Previously, you just produce Widow Mine, because it is stronger than a Hellion for a frontal push. However, since Hellion can become Hellbat, it is better to produce Hellion.
This build is very tight in terms of resource, and Flash cut Scv here and there. The best way to understand it is that you should prioritise producing units over workers during a production cycle. Thus, you do not stop unit production, but also do not have to worry about when to stop worker production. Just an easy way out in terms of macro.
When the Hellbat patch just kicked in, this is actually the build I tried immediately. I wanted to find a build that has a good aggressive attack to line up well with the Hellbat. There was no Hellbat specific builds televised yet, so I just played around the builds I was familiar with. Never expect it to become mainstream.