All about the Roach
Published on 12/14/2017 22:28 PST by Paulo "CatZ" Vizcarra
All About the Roach
Note / Intro: This is the written version of a draft I made for 1 Episode of a project I am considering embarking on - to explain the strengths, weaknesses (and reasons for them) for units in SC2. The idea would be to condense this information and help make it digestible through short videos. However, it is a daunting task, as I can't help but to feel like I am always forgetting important things that should be included. Liquipedia has been extremely helpful with the basic information, but I would these guides to be as comprehensive as possible in offering reasoning beyond numbers. That's where you come in, as many heads are usually better than one - Do you think I am forgetting something that is note-worthy about The Roach, it's strengths/weaknesses or common interactions?
Ground, Attacks Ground only. Armored, Biological.
Strong vs Armored:
Immortals, Stalkers, VoidRays (P)
Marauder, Siege Tank, Viking (T)
Ultralisk, Lurker, Spine Crawler (Z)
Strong vs Biological:
4 (Very Short)
Roaches cost 75 minerals and 25 gas to make. Including the supply cost of 2 and ignoring the mechanical barrier of creating overlords each "supply" costs 12.5 making the roach's total cost 125 resources.
Excluding Overlords and units that spawn or morph from other units, the Roach has the 2nd lowest build time in the Zerg Arsenal at 19 lagging only 2 seconds behind the Zergling at 17 and ahead of the next fighting unit Hydra/Mutalisk at 24.
The Roach has a base speed of 3.15 (+1.05 with Glial Reconstitution + a multiplier of it's total speed with or without upgrade on Creep that is 33% of it's normal speed added to itself. Only bested by the Mutalisk and Zergling.
The Short Build time combined with the Roaches' fast speed post upgrade make it a great unit to consider in reinforcing attacks or re-maxing to atempt at a fast defense of counter attacks as the game progresses.
Pre Glial Reconstitution upgrade, the roach can be a fine defensive unit, as it's stats and attack are strong and it will have considerably better movement on creep. On the attack it's a different story, off creep the roach is considerably slower, as such, most Roach Attacks pre-upgrade at a high level will consist of one wave of Roaches often followed by Zerglings, a unit that can easily catch up to the roaches pre-fight and arrive to the fight at a relevant time should you choose to reinforce.
The Roach does 16 damage per shot (+2 per upgrade) with a cooldown of 1.43 - Making it's dps relatively low at 11.2. However, the roach does a good amount of damage per shot, making every shot a powerful one. The long delay between attacks combined with the fast movement speed of the roach makes it an amazing / easy unit for kiting against melee units - especially but not exclusively, units slower than the roach. Kiting against most ranged units can be a problem for roaches however, as their short Range of 4 would require them to be in firing range of most ranged unit, thus potentially taking damage as you enter and leave their range, provided that the roach is faster.
Whenever you decide it's time to fight with Roaches, you will most often want to stutter-step (move max, attack) forward against units with longer range, so that they struggle to kite you and you can get all of your short ranged roaches attacking every shot. Against units with shorter range, you'll most often want to kite away to minimize or nullify damage taken in between attacks.
Armor (1) / HP 145:
It is worth Noting the Roach has 1 built-in armor, This makes the roach particualrly durable against units that do small amounts of damage per shot like Zerglings or Marines as it negates a greater % of their total damage output.
Open Spaces & Concaves:
Also to take into account with this short range is the importance of concaves for Roaches. As the game progresses it's very important that all of your units are firing ASAP in a fight, for that reason concaves / surrounds are very important, especially against armies with better range, smaller models or AOE damage... so pretty much every army that isn't melee in which case you want to be balled up kiting as a means to not give them good surface area. In 1on1 fights Roaches will generally trade very well per cost against most units that don't directly counter their Armored Type.
Tight Spaces / High Ground:
2 important factors to consider when fighting in tight spaces are unit range and unit model size. The roach has a medium model and short range. this makes them bad against most unit compositions that aren't predominantly melee as they are likely to fit more units in tight spaces combined with most units having better range, more of their units will attack yous, faster.
Roaches dislike fighting against high-ground more than most other ranged units and don't greatly benefit from high ground themselves because of their short range.
Some common interactions:
+1 Attack upgrade -> Roach goes from 3 shotting to 2 shotting zerglings. In Roach vs Zergling that is 33% less attacks required per roach, for a 200 resource investment.
It takes 3 Roaches to 1 shot Workers
Attack upgrade are better for the cost than Carapace in Roach vs Roach fights, as each Attack upgrade gives you +2 damage and the more expensive +1 Carapace only negates 1 damage.
Roaches are some of the worst units to have per-supply. At 50 resources per supply. This mechanic comes into play when you reach the supply max, as an army of roaches will be significantly cheaper than almost every other unit composition, which in turn will mean that the stronger / more expensive / complex armies will likely trade far more efficiently. For this reason Roaches are considered worse and worse as the game progresses, and more often than not you should look to trade them as late-game approaches.
Burrow & Tunneling Claws:
Burrowed Roaches regenerate 7 hp per second (14 with Tunneling Claws) making burrow micro a strong alternative especially in smaller skirmishes. Tunneling Claws + Burrow can also be a great harassment tool to punish a lack of detection or even just the fact that detection can't possibly be everywhere on the map, while there is a noticeable effect on the ground, there is no minimap alert, making surprise attacks on armies a possibility. When it comes to surprise attacks Tunneling claws can be used to un-burrow right under a longer ranged army bypassing their range advantage and instantly putting all of your roaches in a position to fire. Do not however use on melee armies, as you'll be doing them a favor, by negating your range advantage.