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Tip of the Week #6 Queen Defence

By Rekatan - 5th November 2010 - 09:37 AM

Ladies and Gents, This week our faithful Strategy Specialist Rekatan has done thorough research on the Zerg Queen. Be sure to read his findings!

Her Majesty

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Introducing Queen! She enjoys long walks through the volcanoes of Char, and is looking for a man who doesn't mind being eaten alive after lovemaking.

I've realized in talking to people, and my own experimentation, that Queens aren't being utilized nearly to their full potential. No, I'm not going to go on and on arguing the viability of offensive Queens. I am, however, going to get into why Queens are an amazing choice for defensive purposes, and how many Zerg players from Bronze to Diamond neglect to use them to their full potential as not only an economic boon, but also an incredibly potent defensive option.

Lets start by looking at the raw numbers.

HP - 175
Armor - 1
Ground Attack - 4x2 @ 3 Range and 1 Cooldown
Air Attack - 9 @ 7 Range and 1 Cooldown
Speed - 0.938 and 2.667 on Creep

Now this is already looking like a pretty beastly combat unit - surpassing the roach in raw tanking ability and also in versatility - but then factor in transfuse giving a potential 675 total hitpoints per Queen (assuming more than 1 Queen, and full energy) and we've got the absolute tankiest unit in the game, with an above average air attack yet below average ground attack.

The Queen as Air Defence

Let's just take a look at that ranged attack for one second. It's deceptively potent! Banshees and Void Rays both hit at 6, and Mutas hit at 3. This leaves the Queen with a range advantage against every air-ground harassment threat in the game, which means while the attack isn't particularly damaging, it's perfect for shooing away those pesky fliers before they can damage any precious drones.

Vs. Void Rays

But Rek, a void ray owns my Queen!

But there's a more complicated explanation. Let's theorycraft a bit and assume you've produced enough Queens to match 2 Void Rays per resource. That's 800 in 2 Void Rays, and lets say 900 in 6 Queens (since gas is more valuable than minerals). All of a sudden things aren't looking so scary. Even with an attack-move and no further micro these Queens would come out on top. Then factor in that because only 2 of these Queens were used for larva injections, the other 4 will inevitably have more than 50 energy and thus are able to cast the almighty Transfusion! Transfusion is nearly a full heal to a queen at a whopping 125 instant heal. Without getting long-winded by going into how Void Ray damage works for a direct damage-to-HP comparison, suffice to say 2 Void Rays vs 6 Queens results in 0 losses for the queens with only the slightest micro.

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Did you put yer money on the voids? Ya bet wrong...

Vs. Banshees

Queens vs Banshees? Even more one sided! Just make sure you've got that overseer handy, or Spore Crawlers in key locations.

Vs. Mutalisks

Queens vs Mutas? Actually the best matchup of them all. A smart Zergie won't even bother to engage without a serious numerical advantage. Mutas' 3 range vs Queens' 7 is just way too much closing distance, particularly since Mutas are actually less damage per second than Queens even with bounces.

Vs. Phoenix

Finally, lets talk about Queens vs Phoenix - actually the worst matchup. Still, however, this is very Queen-favored. Graviton Beam has this pesky habit of disabling units and their abilities, so a smart Protoss can selectively graviton your high energy Queens and disable transfusions for 10 seconds. Unfortunately for the tricky phoenix they're on a clock. Not only are they sporting a horribly low non-light damage vs a massive 175 hp/1 armor, but once that energy runs out for graviton they're entirely useless vs ground. In other words, land just one Transfusion during this initial barrage and you'll likely escape the encounter unscathed, miss that 1 Transfusion and you'll lose just 1 Queen. Either way they're forced to retreat, and if your reaction time was quick, you lost 0 Overlords or drones in the process (don't forget to transfuse those Overlords!).

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Heyyy, I needed that!

The moral of this story is that Queens destroy air harass. This in and of itself is more than enough justification to build a couple extra Queens as anti-air defence once you're on 2 bases. Tune in at the next Rekatan tip when we look at Queens vs drops, and find even more reason why at least 2 queens per hatch should become a standard for any macroing Zerg player.