Some Macro/Hotkey Tips for a Fledgling Zerg Player

#1Cpt_CrackerPosted 8/18/2010 7:35:04 PM
Intro, and Reason for this.

A SIlver leaguer here, and most of the higher up people probably already know this stuff. But, it's prolly still worth a skim.

Anyways, it seems that a lot of newer players, or people who are new to the Zerg race are having trouble keeping up with larvae, the spawn larvae abilities, and being able to control multiple expansions at once. Some find this rather cumbersome, and feel that all this player side upkeep unnecessary compared to what the other races have to deal with. Some even venture as far as suggesting that the Spawn Larvae ability be auto-casted by the Queens. Hopefully, these tips will alleviate those troubles that some of you are facing.

First off, Hot Keys:

Almost everyone and their knows that when you have a unit(s), or building(s) selected, you can press Control + 0 to 9 in order to assign a "control group". When you have a group selected, you can add units/buildings to the group without drawing new boxes. This is done by shift-clicking on the desired unit/building and reassigning the new selected group into the same number. In my case, I Hot Key my initial Hatchery to "1", and I add all additional Hatcheries to "1".

Same deal with the Queens, except they are all hotkeyed to "2".

Remember that the numbers are personal preference, and can be hotkeyed to other numbers as well. Also, remember that double tapping a certain control group number will bring the selection up on screen.

Second, Hatcheries:


Let's pretend that you have 4 Hatcheries, and you want to go back to a certain base. But when you double tap "1", you keep going back to the same Hatchery. Instead, try this:

Press 1
and Hit Backspace


This will let you cycle through the units/buildings in the selection. Have 4 Hatcheries on the 4 corners of the map? No problem! Cycle through them all with Backspace! This technique can be used to check the saturation of bases/expansions, or build new tech buildings at certain locations.

The next major point with Hatcheries is Larvae. You know that you can make a rally point for you drones, and a separate rally point for your combat units right?

G + Left Click = Rally point for drones.
Y + Left Click = Rally point for Combat Units.
I only wish that there was another rally point specifically for Overlords.


You can select all your Hatcheries and make 1 Unit rally point, and 1 drone rally point. Got a new expansion up? Have all Hatcheries drone rallied to the expansions, and all drones spawned will go the new new Hatchery and start saturating it. Like wise, you can have all of your combat units arrive at a common choke or a middle point between your bases with the same trick. Oh, remember that the units MOVE when rallied, not ATTACK MOVE.

The final point of discussion regarding Hatcheries is that, only 1 layer is needed for upgrades. Say for example, you have 3 Hatcheries. You upgrade 1 to a Lair, and the other two are still Hatcheries. Well, you can research BURROW, OVERLORD MOVE SPEED, AND OVERLORD CARRY BAGS all at the same time! A hatchery does NOT need to be a Lair in order to research Lair level upgrades. You only need ONE Lair/Hive.
#2Cpt_Cracker(Topic Creator)Posted 8/18/2010 7:35:13 PM
Thrid, we have our beloved Queens.

They are our primary defense very early game, AND they have some awesome abilities, the most prominent among them being the Spawn Larvae ability. When used, the Queen pukes on a Hatchery and 4 Larvae will start spawning. 40 seconds later, you have 4 larvae ready to be morphed. Conincidentally, this is about how long it takes for a Queen to regen the 25 Energy necessary for the ability. Another point to note, 1 Queen PER Hatchery is efficient production.

I mentioned that that I put all of my Queens on "2". Every 40 Secnods or so, you can hit 2 (or your preferred number for Queens) and Backspace to cycle through them as you puke on each Hatchery. An even more efficient way to do this exists:

Tap "2", therby selecting all of your Queens.
HOLD Shift
Tap "V" (for the Spawn Larvae ability)
And manually click on the Hatcheries on your Minimap.


The last part can get a bit tricky, but it's fairly easy to get used to. The Hatchery square on the Minimap is generally larger than the squares of other buildings. Placing tech behind mineral lines, or somewhat further away from the Hatchery will ease this clicking. If you do not click on a Hatchery on your Minimap while using the Spawn Larvae ability, then an error will pop up letting you know that you DID NOT click on a Hatchery.

So what does all this clicking do? It makes a Queen, closest to the Hatchery you clicked on from the Minimap, puke on the selected Hatchery. This method is a bit more efficient, as you don't have to switch screens, and you can keep an eye on your troops.

Finally, some other uses of Control Groups:


Spreading Creep is VERY important for a zerg player. At some point early game, invest 25 energy from the Queen (ONLY when you feel safe or the Queen has more than 40 Energy), to spawn a creep tumor. This little booger can spawn a creep tumor of its own. When a creep tumor spawns, it is VISIBLE to the enemy players. However, if a Creep Tumor spawns a decendant Creep Tumor, the pappa tumor will become invisible while it's child is visible until it has a child of its own.
You can have all Active creep tumors on a control group, I use "3", to constantly check on and expand your creep. When a new tumor spawns, add that to the control group. Remember, you HAVE to Backspace cycle through the Tumors if on different fronts.

There are Other buildings that can be hotkeyed, such as Evolution Chambers (if you are upgrading), or Spires (For Air upgrades), but I usually like to hotkey my Nydus Network Building. Anywhere you have sight, you can select your Nydus Network, and Spawn an Nudys Worm. These things act like an extremely fast subway system for the Zerg Ground forces, so they are VERY handy. If you get a nice position on an enemy base with your overlord, spawn a Worm, and say "SURPRISE *****!"

Of Course, DO NOT forget to hot key your forces. I like "4" for Melee, "5" for Ground Ranged, and "6" for Airforce. If I get something beyond Mutalisks, I start delving into "7" and "8". Those Brood Lords are fragile! PROTECT them at ALL COSTS.

In Conclusion, I hope you learned something here. I am open to suggestions, and PLEASE share your own tricks tricks.

PS. Sorry in advance for any Spelling mistakes.
#3ExiledParagonPosted 8/18/2010 7:43:24 PM
I'll keep this in mind. Thank you very much!
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#4Guy_with_a_gunPosted 8/18/2010 7:46:07 PM
I'm trying to main Zerg so thanks!
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#5Cpt_Cracker(Topic Creator)Posted 8/18/2010 7:46:12 PM

From: ExiledParagon | #003
I'll keep this in mind. Thank you very much!


Glad to have helped someone today ^.^
#6ChrisGarPosted 8/18/2010 7:48:38 PM
Thanks! Great advice!
#7BlueHgPosted 8/18/2010 7:48:41 PM
Thanks a bunch for this. There's a lot of small stuff like this that isn't well advertised that can go a long way towards improving one's game, so it's good to see a lot of the basic stuff posted.
#8snow_thiefPosted 8/18/2010 7:53:01 PM
any tips on how to add a particular type of units to a grp while morphing so that they will grp up when they hatch?

Eg: Hydralisks (hotkey: 1), 2x Lairs makes another 4 Hydralisks and 1 Overlord......

any quick ways to add the hydralisks to grp 1 without adding the overlord? I ctrl+click the morphing eggs and it adds up everything to my grp including the mofolord its annoying.
#9Cpt_Cracker(Topic Creator)Posted 8/18/2010 7:56:30 PM

From: snow_thief | #008
any tips on how to add a particular type of units to a grp while morphing so that they will grp up when they hatch?

Eg: Hydralisks (hotkey: 1), 2x Lairs makes another 4 Hydralisks and 1 Overlord......

any quick ways to add the hydralisks to grp 1 without adding the overlord? I ctrl+click the morphing eggs and it adds up everything to my grp including the mofolord its annoying.


I THINK you can Alt-Click to deselect a particular unit in a group. So, say you double click on Eggs, and all of them are selected, you can Alt-Click on the particular Overlord Egg do deselect him from the group. I think you can click on either the unit protrait in the group, or the physical unit on the ground. Can someone please confirm this?

From: China Boy | #007
Thanks a bunch for this. There's a lot of small stuff like this that isn't well advertised that can go a long way towards improving one's game, so it's good to see a lot of the basic stuff posted.


There were two main things I wanted to get out, and those were Backspace cycling, and the Spawn Larvae trick. I decided to go with the basics first though. And thanks you're welcome :D
#10CrazyLarkinPosted 8/18/2010 7:58:33 PM
Great topic!


any quick ways to add the hydralisks to grp 1 without adding the overlord? I ctrl+click the morphing eggs and it adds up everything to my grp including the mofolord its annoying.


You can ctrl+shift the overload out of your selection, so you'll only have the hydras selected
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