The units of StarCraft II
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"Let's have a blast!"
Adapted from the Firebat suit, Marauders act as support troops for infantry. Their armament is a pair of wrist-mounted grenade launchers that slow down enemies on impact.
- Arm Cannon: Two of them!
- Anti-Armor: Their grenade launchers do extra damage against armored enemies and structures, at the cost of reduced effectiveness against lightly armored units.
- Badass Baritone: Have a deep, flavorful voice.
- The Big Guy: Among the Terran infantry units, the Marauder is the biggest and the loudest troop type (unless one counts the Hellbat, which is more of a Mini-Mecha unit).
- Boisterous Bruiser: Big, loud, and always ready for fight. You can really hear it in their lines.
"Let's have a BLAST!"
- Boxed Crook: Flavor text happily lets you know that 47% of Marauders have served jail time, and only 23% have been accused of murder! The joke is they're a comparative improvement to the Marines and Firebats, who are a definite vast majority of Boxed Crooks with the latter also adding a likelihood of pyromania into the mix.
- Cast From Hitpoints: Stimpacks.
- Development Gag: Marauder was a working title for the Marine unit in the original StarCraft.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: Marauders use modified Firebat models after the Firebat got the ax from multiplayer. Flavor text in the campaign mentions that the Marauder suits are repurposed Firebat suits, since Terran commanders have taken notice Marauders are far more useful than Firebats.
- Grenade Launcher: What's mounted on each Arm Cannon.
- Handicapped Badass: " A'course I got five fingers. Three on this hand, two on this one."
- Heavily Armored Mook: Unlike Marines, Reapers, and Ghosts, Marauder armor is built withstand damage on the frontline. In-game this is reflected in their armor rating allowing them to soak up light attacks but be vulnerable to Anti-Armor.
- Lightning Bruiser: They move fairly fast, pack a punch, and have a good amount of HP. Then you get them their Stimpacks and Concussive Shells, increasing their movement and fire rates and giving any unit they attack a penalty for the same.
- Palette Swap: After the Firebat got the cut, the Marauder was given a recolored and modified texture of their model.
- Powered Armor: Wear modified Firebat armor with grenade launchers in place of flamethrowers. Like Firebats before them, they can take a much harder beating than Marine armor and still survive.
- Simple Yet Awesome: They only cost 100 minerals (twice that of a Marine), produce as quickly as Marines, and move as fast as them too. A simple force of Marines and Marauders is easy to set up and all set against most air and armor threats.
- Soul Brotha: This is their speech pattern.
- Stuff Blowing Up: What tends to happen when Marauders get busy. The units themselves are plenty happy with their work.
"The Grim Reaper has arrived..."
Reapers are speedy base raiders armed with handguns and explosives, and equipped with jetpacks that let them leap up and down cliffs to quickly infiltrate enemy lines.
- Boxed Crook: The Dominion's Reapers are one of the few units that are entirely composed of convicted murderers. They are promised freedom after two years of service, thus far none have lasted more than six months.
- Cannon Fodder: In-universe, the convicts that become Reapers are even more of this than Marines, since they're murderers deliberately being given suicide missions. In practice they're more fragile than marines but they're used for hit-and-run more than frontline units.
- Crutch Character: As heavy harass units, most of their value is found earlier on by hampering the enemy's economy. Hit-and-Run Tactics only work so many times before smart opponents will just build rear-line defenses, making Hit-and-Run Tactics suicidal.
- Difficult but Awesome: Given their Fragile Speedster and Glass Cannon traits, a player must be very good at micromanaging hit-and-run attacks for Reapers to be worth using.
- Demolitions Expert: Prior to Heart of the Swarm, Reapers chucked mines at things, which made for surprisingly devastating damage to buildings.
- Dual Wielding: They use double-pistols.
- Dungeon Bypass: The whole point of the jetpack is to let them jump up and down cliffs, letting them bypass the bottleneck that each base uses as its entry point.
- Fragile Speedster: Besides the fact they're innately quick, their ability to jump up and down cliffs lets them escape pursuers that way as well. However, they're very weak and fragile.
- Glass Cannon: Do not let their bombs fool you. While the range is pretty short, the damage and rate of fire combined makes it on par with the Siege Tank in building demolition. They also get several campaign upgrades to raise their damage output.
- Guns Akimbo: Wield dual pistols.
- Healing Factor: As of Heart of the Swarm, their combat drugs make them regenerate out of combat.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: The only effective way to use Reapers is this way, quickly jumping cliffs, harassing the enemy's mineral line, then getting the hell out of dodge once they draw attention (being rather poor at head-on fights). Rinse and repeat.
- Jet Pack: What lets them move so fast for infantry and hop ledges at will.
- Jump Jet Pack: It only works for moving them up and down ledges.
- Secondary Fire: Chucks explosive charges when attacking buildings, at least until the ability was removed in Heart of the Swarm.
- Throw Down the Bomblet: Well, they threw them down until Heart of the Swarm's changes.
Hercs are an infantry unit introduced in Legacy of the Void
. They can grapple targets at range and pull themselves in, disrupting enemy formations and letting them get to key targets.
"Ready to raise some hell!"
Fast-moving land rovers armed with flamethrowers, they deal damage to clumps of enemies and excel at fighting light units. Heart of the Swarm
turns them into Transforming Mecha
; "Hellbat" mode makes them a walking unit with higher HP and a slightly-stronger, shorter-ranged flamethrower. They can switch back and forth at any time.
- Boring but Practical: The addition of Hellbat transformation gives these units a longer lifespan: Hellbats are still useful long past the point where the Hellion form would have been phased out. (Of course, this removes them from the list of throwaway units, making it a bigger deal to lose one.)
- Crutch Character: Hellions used to be this before Hellbats were introduced, since they were used for Hit-and-Run Tactics until enemy bases were walled off, which is when Reaper or Medivac/Marine Hit-and-Run Tactics can bypass the base entrance. Since they can't break through fortification themselves, they needed Marauder/Siege Tank help and by that point you don't even need Hellions anymore.
- Divergent Character Evolution:
- While the Hellion is basically a replacement for the Vulture, in the single-player campaign the Hellion's upgrades focus on enhancing its splash damage capabilities, while the Vulture's focus on enhancing its Spider Mines.
- As for the Hellion itself, it's a Fragile Speedster normally with low HP but high speed, becomes a Glass Cannon with Infernal Pre-Igniter to boost its damage, and in Heart of the Swarm can transform into the Hellbat, a Mighty Glacier with higher HP but low speed.
- Fragile Speedster: As far as vehicles go, Hellions are much faster than Siege Tanks or Thors but more fragile.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: How to harass with Hellions: drive into enemy base as fast as possible, torch worker units, then get out before heavy opposition comes. Repeat until base defenses make this no longer feasible.
- Kill It with Fire: And very good at it too.
- Spiritual Successor: Hellions were added to be a Kill It with Fire unit that wasn't as limited as the Firebat, basically being Firebats that shed their carapace armor and hopped into a speed buggy to gain mobility (at the cost of durability). Hellbats take this even further and basically are Firebats with the huge bonus of being able to switch forms.
- Splash Damage: Linear splash in Hellion form, and a wide cone splash in Hellbat form.
- Took a Level in Badass: If Hellbats can be considered the Spiritual Successor of Firebats from the first game, since they are much less situational than they used to be.
- Transforming Mecha: Added in Heart of the Swarm, from a rapid-moving car to a slower-moving but more durable combat walker.
- Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: The reason they replace the Firebat both in a meta sense and in-universe is because they avert this trope. They still only get the full damage bonus benefits of their flamethrowers when attacking smaller units and thus are not optimal for larger enemies, but their high speed, the range of their attack, and their ability to kite enemies make them very dangerous hit-and-run raiders, especially if a couple get into your base and head for your worker lines.
- Violation of Common Sense:
- Hellbats can be healed by Medivacs. Hellions cannot.
- Hellbats take 4 slots in a transport, Hellions take 2.
"Thor is here!"
A massive heavy artillery walker, it specializes in anti-air missile barrages but has enough firepower to hold its own against ground forces as well. Memorably speaks like a certain Austrian bodybuilder who became Governor of California
A new HotS
unit in the Terran arsenal, the Widow Mine is manufactured from the Factory, ordered out to a new location and told to bury itself and await prey. They act as tiny missile factories, shooting their explosive payload at whatever swings by whilst remaining in hiding.
- Artifact Title: As noted below, they used to be mines. They are now a missile-launching Area Denial Weapon.
- Hoist By Their Own Petard: It's hard to aim Widow Mines, so if you send in a melee unit as Schmuck Bait, it might be able to activate the mine prematurely. ...And/or draw the explosion onto the owner's army. Watch this Bronze-League Heroes cast by Husky Starcraft to see a Protoss player use his enemy's mines against him.
- Mecha-Mooks: it's a little robot dude that shoots missiles up your enemy's taints.
- Non-Indicative Name: They're effectively turrets, or to be pedantic, an Area Denial Weapons System, which are slightly different from mines. (They used to be actual self-destructing mines until the current balance changes.)
- Properly Paranoid: Zerg players beware; you are no longer the only army that can keep buried units potentially anywhere that are ready to ambush!
- Sentry Gun: Sentry Missile Launchers, to be more precise.
- Splash Damage: Their missiles can blow up a small area of units, though this can be worked around by sending a few sacrificial decoys in then charging the real attack force through before the Widow Mine can re-arm.
- Stone Wall: They deal good damage and are tough to get rid of without something revealing them, but they're only useful when buried underground (i.e. non-moving) and are vulnerable if they try to unburrow and move elsewhere.
- Taking You with Me: They used to be self-destructing bombs before this was changed.
A mobile mini-tank unit, it fires missiles to attack while on the move.
- Expy: It's a unit whose primary strength is the ability to attack on the move, making it effective against slow enemies but vulnerable to faster ones. In essence, it's a retooled Diamondback.
- Fragile Speedster: They're quick and can attack while moving, but are outmatched by a unit that can keep up with them and tank their blasts.
"Ready to plunder."
An air-superiority assault fighter that can change into a ground-based walker to help out its allies in the dirt.
A Terran bombardment craft equipped with a cloaking field, it fires barrages of missiles at ground targets, but can't attack air units.
A support craft equipped with on-board construction facilities that allow it to manufacture machines for various purposes in combat.
- Attack Drone: Its Auto-Turrets.
- Painfully Slow Projectile: Seeker Missiles, until the mechanic was redesigned shortly after Heart of the Swarm's release. There's even an achievement for outrunning one long enough for it to explode without impact. Doing so is much easier after the change, although it no longer quite fits the trope.
- Splash Damage: Hunter-Seeker Missile.
- True Sight: Can detect burrowed and cloaked units.
"Ready for dust-off"
The Dropship of the old armada has been equipped with the Medic's healing abilities to allow it to heal troops on the move more efficiently.
- Black Comedy: Yup.
Hurry up! What, are you missing a leg or something? (Beat) Oh. Attention passengers, the local time... doesn't matter because you'll all be dead soon anyway. Welcome aboard. Are you an organ donor?
- Composite Character: They're a combination of Medics and Dropships from the first installment.
- Divergent Character Evolution: In the single-player campaign the Medic can be upgraded to heal faster and for less energy, while the Medivac can get the ability to heal two units at once. The Medivac is also more expensive and slower to build, but has better durability and can function as a transport.
- Dr. Jerk: The pilot is definitely more sarcastic and irritable than her ground counterpart, even before you reach her Stop Poking Me point.
- Drop Ship: In-universe, they used to be called this before being upgraded with on-board medical systems. In game, they act as a combination of this and The Medic.
- Escape Pod: Can be upgraded with them, allowing units inside to survive and be deployed on the ground if it gets shot down.
- Healing Beam: How it restores health to units on the ground.
- In-Series Nickname: They're called "heal buses" by Marines. Some pilots don't take kindly to it — to the point it's mentioned in Wings of Liberty that one Medivac pilot killed several Marines for using the term.
- Lampshade Hanging: "Uh, why are you boys all wearing red shirts anyway?"
- The Medic: Takes over this role from the ground unit from the first game.
- Shoot the Medic First: If an enemy Medivac drops a raiding party of Marines and Marauders, destroy the Medivac first for this reason (and to deny them an easy evac when things get too hot).
- Simple Yet Awesome: The can't fight, but they're necessary for any kind of tactical insertion of Marines and Marauders and they're extremely useful for keeping infantry balls alive.
- Support Party Member: They bring transportation and healing capabilities but zero firepower.
- Units Not to Scale: In Vanilla SC 2, it can fit a Thor inside it, by means of... something. HotS added a custom animation where the Thor folds up into a (rough) box and is towed around beneath the Medivac.
- Violation of Common Sense: Hellbats can be healed but Hellions cannot.
Campaign-exclusive Terran Units
"I have awakened..."
Advanced Ghosts, Spectres are even deadlier assassins than their counterparts, but are also more unstable. At least, that's the Dominion propaganda; they can potentially be crazier, but the real problem is that they can't be controlled the way Ghosts can.
- Armor-Piercing Attack: Unlike the Ghost, who has a bonus damage against light units; this is also highlighted by their upgradeable ability Psionic Leash, which is, essentially, an infantry Yamato Cannon.
- Death from Above: Like Ghosts, they can call down a nuclear strike.
- Dodge the Bullet: According to Expanded Universe materials(Starcraft Ghost: Spectres to be exact), they are capable of pulling this off
- Elite Mooks: They are this compared to ghosts.
- Faceless Goons: Played with. They wear fully concealing masks, like the Ghosts... but only when they activate their Invisibility Cloak. Otherwise, the superior half of their face is unconcealed and visible.
- Invisibility Cloak: Like the Ghost, they have personal cloaking devices.
- Psychic Powers: Even stronger than the Ghost's thanks to the more intense experiments.
- Psycho Prototype: They're not: they don't have implants or brainwashing, and little details (look Faceless Goons above) show they're more human than the Ghosts.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Their visors are red to the Ghost's green, and they're far more dangerous.
- Super Soldier: Even compared to the Ghosts, who are also this.
- Support Party Member: While useful on their own, they have an ability called Ultrasonic Pulse, which is an AOE stun with a respectable radius, making them really useful against Melee units, like the zealot, and fragile or slow attacking ranged units like the Void Ray (in fact, if you chain it right, you can keep a group of Void rays from ever getting their rays charged).
- Telepathic Spacemen: Like the Ghost, but better.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: According to the novelizations, specters must regularly consume terrazine to keep their heightened powers. It can cause hallucinations, visions, fits of rage, and other assorted problems, such as it being as addicting as a typical drug and thus you can take too much of it regularly and these problems intensify. Taking the terrazine with jorium helps dull the side-effects a bit though.
- You Nuke 'Em: Since they replace the Ghost in the campaign if you choose them, they have their ability to call down nuclear strikes.
"What needs killing?"
Originally developed by the Confederacy, they can attack on the move with railgun turrets. They were discovered inactive in the ruins of Tarsonis and pressed into service by the Dominion and Raynor's Raiders.
- Armor-Piercing Attack: They get a damage buff against armored enemies.
- Cool, but Inefficient: The Diamondback is fast, has the ability to fire on the move, has good hitpoints, and has a strong anti-armor attack. However, their use is extremely niche, and they aren't as versatile as other units, such as the overpowered "campaign" Siege Tank. Their upgrades makes them better in kiting, raiding bases, and fighting units like the Ultralisk and the Colossus, but they are still ultimately a harassment and scouting unit. Being that the campaign is focused on defense and securing objectives, and the Diamondback isn't very good at that, they're still outclassed.
- This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: The mission that introduces the Diamondback has you tracking down and shooting fast, high-HP armored trains. The Diamondback moves fast, fires on the move, and does extra damage to armored units.
A warbot operated by Dominion forces, it has variable weapon systems. Raynor activates it to help with some guards during a raid on a Dominion facility.
A robotic fighter, it unleashes a field of electricity whenever it attacks, heavily damaging nearby units.
- Animal Mecha: They're robotic panthers that use auras of electricity to fight.
- Cool, but Inefficient: It rips apart melee ground units with ease thanks to its electric splash damage ability, but is otherwise fairly forgettable since the Terrans already have the Firebat and Perdition Turret for dealing with Zergling swarms.
- Shock and Awe: They use bursts of electrical energy to kill.
- Splash Damage: They deal it with their electrical fields.
A massive dropship, it can single-handedly carry an entire army into battle, having enough room to carry more than three times as many troops as a Medivac. In the Wings of Liberty
campaign, at least, it's explained they're converted cargo freighters.
- Escape Pod: As with the Medivac's upgrade, units inside survive to be deployed should the Hercules be destroyed.
- Stone Wall: 500 HP and 3 armor, and while not among the fastest units it moves as a decent clip, so unless you run it into a half-dozen anti-air turrets, its cargo units will get to their destination. This is only 50HP less (with the same base armor) than the Terran Battlecruiser, the single toughest unit in the game.
- Violent Glaswegian: He's a non-combatant but you wouldn't know from listening to him
"Beware the Evil Terra-Tron!!! HE DOES NOT LIKE YOU!!!"
An April Fools joke made by Blizzard during the development of Wings of Liberty
. The "lore" is that it combines from the player's buildings to defend against enemies if you have no units left. It returned as the Final Boss
of the Lost Viking
- Arm Cannon: Made from a Ghost Academy.
- BFG: And as such its cannon is huge.
- Bullet Hell: The' 'Lost Viking'' game as a whole is this, but Terra-Tron takes it to a sadistic new level.
- Chainsaw Good: Wields a buzzsaw blade on its left arm, formed from a Starport.
- Combining Mecha: It merges from various buildings to form a giant robot.
- Deadly Disc: In the Lost Viking game, it flings its saw blade around the arena.
- Evil Is Petty: The above quote is the only reason given for why the Terra-Tron is trying to destroy your lost little Viking — he doesn't like you.
- Final Boss: Of Lost Viking.
- Humongous Mecha: It has Bunkers for feet and a Planetary Fortress for a head.
- Hurricane of Puns: Every line it has is a reference to some sort of media involving robots. It quotes Transformers, Short Circuit, Beast Wars, Power Rangers, it has a voice like Optimus Prime, and was designed by Ron Volt, a reference to Voltron.
- Joke Character: One so obvious that even if it wasn't showcased on April 1st, no one could possibly think it was legit.
- Wave Motion Gun: Its arm cannon fires out a long, continuous laser beam, similar to the laser drill in the mission The Dig.
A proto-type Thor, it was built by the Dominion and to be used as a demonstration of their firepower. It worked, when Raynor's Raiders took control of it to raid Korhal.
A huge transforming mech deployed by the Dominion during their siege of the Umojan facility, guarding the shuttle bay to prevent anyone (especially Raynor and Kerrigan) from escaping. Kerrigan is forced to battle it to reach Raynor's ship.
- Flunky Boss: While it's in the air, it calls down drop-pods of marines to harass you.
- Gatling Good: Retains the Viking's gatling cannons on the ground.
- Humongous Mecha: It's roughly the size of the Odin in-game, though Units Not to Scale should be kept in mind.
- King Mook: To the Viking.
- Macross Missile Massacre: On the ground, periodically designates an area of the boss arena and blows it sky high. In the air, strafes the arena in a straight line.
- More Dakka: This thing's guns are a fair bit bigger than the standard.
- Transforming Mecha: Ground-to-air, like the regular Viking, but designed as a boss mechanic instead of a unit ability.
- Warm-Up Boss: It's there to get you used to the idea of fighting a boss enemy with Kerrigan, so when you fight the pack leaders on Zerus, you're familiar with the concept.
Tin can's ready to roll!
A medium assault mech, the Warhound was originally intended to become one of the terrans’ new units in Heart of The Swarm multiplayer. However, it was ultimately banned from multiplayer due to balance issues, and remained only in the campaign.
The successor to the original Queen is an entirely different unit. Now a ground-based unit, she specializes in supporting the development of the base with various abilities and providing a pinch ranged attack against early raids.
In Heart of the Swarm
, her abilities undergo another change for the campaign. Now called the Swarm Queen, she's the only source of spreading Creep via her Creep Tumors ability, and she's lost her ability to induce hatcheries to produce extra Larvae (since hatcheries now produce up to nine instead of the original three).
- Geo Effects: Can plant "creep tumors" for additional creep spread, which give a speed boost to zerg units.
- In Name Only: Bears a very vague physical resemblance to the original Queen...and that's about all they have in common.
- Mook Maker: Indirectly, she can cause a Hatchery to spawn extra larva.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: Before Kerrigan, the Zerg were controlled by the Overmind through Cerebrates to Overlords and then to individual Zerg units, with the Queens playing only a minor support role when needed. Since Kerrigan became the new Queen of the Swarm, it makes sense that these Queens are omnipresent and more directly involved in the organization of a base - they're Kerrigan's physical manifestation and the new foundation for the Zerg organizational structure.
- Squishy Wizard: Always a target of opprotunity because Queens have a high cost and huge build time, especially in the early game, and they aren't all that durable and make huge targets.
- Took a Level in Badass: In the Heart of the Swarm campaign, the Swarm Queen mutates almost twice as fast as the usual Queen, moves much faster off Creep, and their Transmusion ability has been toggable to auto-cast, though it heals much less HP. The short of it, rather than a Squishy Wizard base supporter, the Swarm Queen is more a combination Hydralisk and Medic, and a potent supporter for armies on the frontlines.
An evolution of the Zergling, they're rolling suicidal bombers that explode on impact.
- Action Bomb: They roll into enemies and explode to damage them.
- Divergent Character Evolution: In the campaign they can upgrade into Hunters or Splitterlings. The Hunter jumps over cliffs and leaps at targets to explode, while the Splitterling splits into two smaller, weaker Banelings when it dies. They also evolve out of zerglings, as mentioned above.
- Glass Cannon: A handful of them can cripple an army, and they move decently fast, but are easily slain.
- Hollywood Acid: What they release when they explode.
- Splash Damage: What makes them so effective at dealing with enemies. Small clusters of troops are going to be pulverized.
- Suicide Attack: Banelings don't survive the blast of their attacks.
- Taking You with Me: In sharp contrast to the Infested Terran, the Baneling still does splash damage when destroyed, so simply gunning it down before it gets to you won't guarantee your safety.
An aptly-named tier-one-point-five ranged attacker, they spew acid to attack and get a major boost to Regenerating Health
whilst burrowed. They can also move while burrowed. In Legacy of the Void
they can mutate into the Ravager, which launches globs of corrosive bile.
- Breath Weapon: Sprays of acid.
- Death from Above: The Ravager's corrosive bile rains down from on-high to deal high damage.
- Divergent Character Evolution: The Zerg campaign allows Roaches to be permanently upgraded into Corpsers or Vile Roaches — Corpsers cause units they attack to Spawn Broodlings when killed, while Vile Roaches slow down the move and attack rates of their targets. Legacy of the Void lets them evolve into Ravagers.
- Healing Factor: Properly micro'd, Roachs definitely live up to their name if the opponent has no detection, because when burrowed they heal very quickly, especially with the Tunneling Claws upgrade that allows them to move while burrowed and increase health regeneration.
- Hollywood Acid: Their acid can eat away at anything, including zerg carapace, Terra neosteel, and Protoss plating.
- Homing Boulders: when Roaches attack something on a higher elevation than them, an interesting quirk of the physics engine causes them to spit diagonally upward at an angle... until it crests the cliff, at which point the acid bends in mid-air to move parallel to the ground.
- Secondary Fire: A "hidden" melee animation that is otherwise the exact same as their ranged attack. In a bit of The Dev Team Thinks of Everything, this secondary melee attack however doesn't trigger point defense or range-attack reducing effects.
- Splash Damage: The Ravager's corrosive bile deals it.
- Turns Red: In Heart of the Swarm one of their campaign upgrades grants them +3 to armor when at 50% health.
A support caster, they can take over the minds of enemies, spew eggs that hatch into Infested Terrans, and use "Fungal Growth" on enemies to pin them in place and a bit of damage. Like Roaches, they can move while burrowed.
- Festering Fungus: Fungal Growth.
- Mook Maker: Spawns Infested Terrans.
- Puppeteer Parasite: Neural Parasite. Infestors thus inherit the Dark Archon's ability to capture an enemy's Worker Unit in order to build another tech tree, though it's even trickier here because of the limited duration and you don't get the benefit of separate supply limits.
- Squishy Wizard: Has awesome spells, but a measly 90 hit points. They also have no basic attack.
- The Worm That Walks: Described as more of a colony of aliens living in a hollow, slug-like shell than an individual organism.
A siege unit added with Heart of the Swarm
, they can take root in the ground and unleash hordes of small, continually and freely spawning attackers on enemies.
- Divergent Character Evolution: To the Creeper or Carrion in the campaign — Creepers produce creep when rooted and can Deep Tunnel to move to creep-covered areas instantly, while Carrions produce flying locusts that move faster, do more damage, and of course fly.
- Gradual Grinder: Locusts do not move extremely quickly, their small size makes them extremely vulnerable to splash damage because so many can be hit at once, have to get in close to attack, and have no armor at the start and only 65 HP. Against a well-fortified enemy, it's likely only a handful will manage to get in attack range and squeeze off a few shots. But the fact that there's always more where they came from (provided the Swarm Hosts are kept safe) and their ludicrously high fire rate and damage-per-shot means that bit by bit they can chip away at an enemy's strength. Further compounded with the Viper, which can use Abduct to pull units out of safety.
- Mook Maker / Spawn Broodling: Rather like the Queen from the original Starcraft, it's their only way of attack — unlike the Queen, however, the Swarm Host constantly produces small, hard-hitting locusts at regular intervals, rather than needing to implant enemies.
- Nerf: The base Swarm host in the campaign is weaker than it is in melee games- without an upgrade it is visible when activated, and its locusts have a much lower dps.
- Took a Level in Badass: In Legacy of the Void, the spawn time for their locusts is significantly increased, but they can now spawn locusts while moving and can upgrade them to fly. This makes them much more aggressive and proactive than before.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Like the Lurker before them, they are completely defenseless aboveground.
An evolution of the Overlord, they can disable enemy buildings in the process of building or researching something, and spawn Changelings
to spy on enemies.
- Interface Screw: In Heart of the Swarm their Changelings inflict an unfortunate case of this on the opponent, because they're not selectable. So if you order your troops to walk around and you see one that's following but can't be selected or added to a control group, you know it's a Changeling.
- The Mole: Their Changelings, which shapeshift into enemy base units to infiltrate them. Unlike other stealth units, they are invulnerable to detection and you have to find them yourself.
- Put on a Bus: Initially in Heart of the Swarm in favor of the Viper. The Bus Came Back when the Viper was retooled and Blizzard decided to tweak the Overseer to be more useful on its own.
- Eyes Do Not Belong There: It has far too many eyes in far too many places it shouldn't.
- True Sight: Can see hidden units like burrowed Zerg and cloaked enemies.
An anti-armor flier, they act as a counter to heavier air units that Mutalisks can't compete with.
- Armor-Piercing Attack: With their corruption ability.
- Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: Looks very much like a flying squid.
- Killed Off for Real: In Heart of the Swarm's campaign, it's stated that the genetic information needed to make Corruptors became lost after the events of Wings of Liberty. As a result, the only way to get Brood Lords was evolve your Mutaliks to transform into them instead.
- Lightning Bruiser: They move quite fast, do good damage, and have a lot of HP.
- Lost Forever: In universe, the Swarm lost all of their essence and cannot recover it. Brood Lords (if chosen) instead come from Mutalisks.
- The Topic of Cancer: In the same spirit as the Defiler, Corruptor tentacles are laced with tumors. As these tumors devour their tissues, they generate the electromagnetic field that Corruptors use to fly. However, they must use their parasite spores in order to regulate their cancer, lest it devour their own tentacles.
A new spellcasting flier in Heart of the Swarm
, they can lash enemies and pull them out of place, or do the same to allies to pull them to safety. They can also spit clouds to limit enemy attack range, and regenerate energy by leaching health off friendly structures.
An evolution of the Corruptor, it produces Broodlings from its body which it then hurls at ground targets, not only damaging them heavily but leaving the Broodling down there to wreak further havoc on their own.
- Abnormal Ammo: Fires broodlings (which then proceed to gnaw on your enemies) instead of simple projectiles.
- Mighty Glacier: Has much higher HP than the original Guardian and with its broodlings does a lot more damage, but is still very slow and not good to respond to threats a distance away. This is one the major risks of massing a large number of Brood Lords into one group.
- Mook Maker: Broodlings fired at the ground count as units and keep going.
- Spawn Broodling: Literally — they attack by shooting Broodlings at enemies, leaving the Broodling to keep attacking the enemy on the ground.
Technically more of a building than a unit, the Nydus Worm is produced by the Nydus Network and bursts out of the ground anywhere in line of sight. There it can disgorge any units "garrisoned" in the Network or pick up units.
- Awesome but Impractical: Can transport a whole ground army across a map but is vulnerable while emerging, has a fairly significant resource cost and relatively low HP, requires good timing and micromanagement to get any real benefit, and makes a very distinctive scream whenever it emerges.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: In one cutscene Kerrigan rides on a worm's head as it rises out of the ground and grabs an enemy in its mouth. Nothing like that is possible in the game.
- Lamprey Mouth: Their mouths are designed this way.
- Portal Network: Acts like a biological portal network.
- Sand Worm: Seems inspired by the Graboids
- Swallowed Whole: It pretty much swallows units and regurgitates them out of another head.
- Took a Level in Badass: Legacy of the Void makes them invulnerable until they finish surfacing, removing a bit part of the "Impractical" bit of the Awesome but Impractical entry. Now Zerg plays can pick and choose their spots of engagement without loss of resources should a Worm be killed before it erupts.
Campaign-exclusive Zerg Units
An advanced form of the Infested Terran, they attack with claws and are barely recognizable as being human once. They start out as a special enemy unit seen in a handful of campaign missions in Wings of Liberty
, then become a full-fledged Zerg unit in Heart of the Swarm
A massive special Zerg breed and terribly powerful, it appears as an optional foe in some missions, yielding valuable DNA for research when killed.
- Bonus Boss: As mentioned, whenever it appears its as an optional objective, and for good reason.
- Elite Mook: They have huge HP and power.
- Mighty Glacier: Brutalisks have hundreds of HP and enough damage to rip apart armies. Movement speed is not so impressive.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Your guess is as good as ours what DNA strand(s) the Brutalisk was mutated from.
- Spikes of Villainy
- Summon Bigger Fish: Late in the Heart of the Swarm campaign, the objective is to find and kill several stronger-than-normal hybrid in succession. Conveniently, the same mission's bonus objectives are to free and take control of two of these.
Another massive Zerg breed only seen in two missions, it is incredibly strong and takes a lot of firepower to take down.
- Elite Mook: An utterly huge Ultralisk.
- Giant Mook: One of the largest Zerg ever seen.
- King Mook: To the Ultralisk. The Omegalisk is actually based on scrapped Ultralisk designs that had them much bigger, and in-game is represented by a scaled-up Ultralisk model.
- Lightning Bruiser: They're beefed up Ultralisks with more HP and power and no loss of speed for it.
- Sinister Scythe: Attacks with the same kaiser blades as Ultralisks.
- Use Your Head: They can ram targets to smash them apart.
An utterly huge breed of airborne Zerg, tasked with defending Char in the final battles. In Heart of the Swarm
, Kerrigan uses one as her base of operations between missions and can choose to summon a weaker version as her final ability.
- Breath Weapon: Spews bio-plasma both as an attack and an ability.
- Combat Tentacles: It's four tentacles can lash out to attack enemies.
- The Dragon: To Kerrigan in Wings of Liberty. Depending on which mission you take, you either fight it in the penultimate mission, or it attacks you in the final mission. One of her ultimate abilities in Heart of the Swarm summons a Leviathan to serve her once again.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the story, they're described as moon-sized, can carry entire Zerg armies to drop onto planets, and act as Kerrigan's base of operations. However, in Heart of the Swarm Kerrigan gets the ability to summon them in combat, but they attack ground units with tentacles and their drop-pod Mook Maker ability is nowhere (it's a separate ability). They are still highly formidable in killing Battlecruiser fleets, though.
- Mook Maker: Spits out Brood Lords and Mutalisks.
- One-Man Army: Can take out dozens of units alone.
- Space Whale: Adapted the ability to survive in space from these.
- Units Not to Scale: It is gigantic and definitely one of the biggest units you'll see in the campaign, but in Heart of the Swarm cutscenes a Leviathan acts as Kerrigan's base of operations, and is so massive that the Hyperion battlecruiser looks tiny. In the lore they are described as moon-sized.
"I am here in the shadows..."
A ranged support walker based on Dark Templar emulations of the Dragoon, they fire phase disruptors and can use Blink to teleport a short distance.
- Dark Is Not Evil: They're Dark Templar units, but like them are quite benevolent.
- Flash Step: There's even an achievement for dodging a killing blow with Blink.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: Shoot short blue laser blasts at enemies.
- Homing Boulders: they follow the same physics rules as Roach acid.
- Jack of All Stats: They move even faster than Zealots until they get their speed upgrade, but compared to other Protoss forces their damage output and HP is mediocre.
- Man in the Machine: Like the original Dragoon, Stalkers are robots controlled by a Dark Templar contained within, though the Dark Templar only use souls instead of full bodies.
- Spider Mecha: Walk on four legs.
A robotic support drone that specializes in energy manipulation, it can project energy fields to protect allies and block passage over terrain.
- Barrier Warrior: Force Fields physically block enemy units, which have many uses to deny enemy advance/retreat or to funnel them into a chokepoint.
- Boring but Practical: A relatively small group of Sentries with good energy reserves can rapidly erect several Force Fields, letting them stop the opponent's retreat, block their reinforcements, and keep melee units at bay. Add in Guardian Shield to defend allies and the support fire it offers normally, and Sentries are a nice addition to any Protoss ground army.
- Deflector Shields: Besides the standard Protoss plasma shields, it has Guardian Shield to reduce damage to nearby allies.
- Frickin' Laser Beams
- Master of Illusion: They inherit the High Templar's Hallucination skill from the first game.
- Spotting the Thread: Illusions of units deal zero damage despite attacking just the same as real ones; knowing this is important to figuring out how many of the enemy are fakes.
- Squishy Wizard: Keep them alive and they'll more than prove themselves worth the cost. The problem is that first part.
- Support Party Member: Incapable of killing much on their own, yet invaluable for their abilities nonetheless.
In the lore, the Dragoons of old can no longer be created, the shrine dedicated to their construction lost with the fall of Aiur. The Dragoons that survived have been adapted into Immortals, anti-armor walkers with hardened shields that resist heavy-hitting blows. In Legacy of the Void
, their hardened shields were retooled and made into an active ability that grants them a defensive buff for a time.
- Anti-Armor: its intended role, between its shield and an Armor-Piercing Attack that gets an impressive damage buff when attacking an armored target.
- Badass Grandpa: The warriors that became Immortals are old, yet just as ready to kick ass as they were hundreds of years ago.
- Beehive Barrier: How its shields manifests.
- David Versus Goliath: Immortals aren't really small, but their particular properties allow them to take on Thors and Ultralisks at an advantage.
- Death of a Thousand Cuts: The Immortal's hardened shields reduce all incoming damage to 10, causing anything that does large doses of damage to have a fit. Its obvious weakness are the small, weak units that do 9-or-less damage to begin with, but in the end everything approaches an Immo with the attitude of slowly whittling them to death. Some units simply achieve this faster than others.
- Man in the Machine: Like their Dragoon predecessors.
- Mighty Glacier: Not that fast, but high damage output against armored targets and a lot of HP.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Prior to Patch 1.4 the Colossus was almost universally preferable to the Immortal due to higher HP, significantly greater damage output, siege range, splash damage, and increased mobility, while not being much more expensive. Said patch boosted the Immortal's range to make them more viable, and they've seen increased usage. Ironically at this point, it's possible for a force of Immortals to beat a force of Colossi depending on player management, due to their bonuses to offense and defense both working on the Colossus.
- Spider Mecha: They're essentially a humanoid turret on top of the classic Dragoon's central body.
- Weaksauce Weakness: As mentioned above, the base units of all three races will have an easy time against them.
Massive four-legged walkers that can walk up and down cliffs, they were developed centuries ago but sealed away in asteroids. The Protoss have recovered and reactivated them to serve as heavy support fighters.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Colossi are huge.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: Fire long laser beams against enemies.
- Godzilla Threshold: According to the lore, they're the reason the Protoss don't meddle in the affairs of lesser species — they tried to pacify a species involved in a civil war, and when the species turned on them the Protoss employed the Colossi to defend themselves and exterminated the other race out. This is why the Colossi were sealed away; the Protoss were ashamed of themselves, but with the war being what it is now, they can't afford not to use them any more.
- Humongous Mecha: So humongous that air units can shoot them down.
- Lightning Bruiser: High damage output and a lot of HP, it moves at a fair clip and can walk over cliffs to take shortcuts and outrun ground enemies.
- Logical Weakness: One of its unique strengths- its size- is also one of its weaknesses. Colossi legs can climb up and down cliffs with no problem, but they're so darn tall that dedicated air-to-air combatants can attack them.
- Splash Damage: This makes the best of the big units at dealing with large groups of smaller units, though as a drawback, it's less durable than the Thor and Ultralisk and packs less of a punch against durable targets.
- Tripod Terror: They may have four legs, but otherwise totally in fit with the spirit of the trope. They fry stuff and destroy Zerg Rushes at extreme long range with sweeping heat rays, and have very long stilt-legs that let them stride over any terrain with ease. They had three legs in earlier incarnations, but it was changed to four to make them look more realistic.
- Weaksauce Weakness: This really bears repeating: it counts as an air unit and a ground unit. It is the only thing in the game that can be attacked by everything. Fighting them is also a toss-up: their laser beams are meant to fry light, fast units, but only shoot in one direction, making them vulnerable to flanking attacks by... light, fast units. Finally, they can't attack air units, so Corruptors, Vikings, and Phoenix make short work of them if they aren't supported by anti-air units.
A new unit in Legacy of the Void
, they can turn into orbs of pure energy and then release a blast of psionic power around them when they return to corporeal form.
- Energy Beings: Though a robot unit, it can turn itself into an orb of pure psionic energy.
- Splash Damage: Their primary offense is a shockwave around them.
- Squishy Wizard: Deals high damage, but can't take it in kind.
Fast-moving air skirmish units, they can't attack ground units but don't need to—their Graviton Beam lets them bring ground units up to their level instead.
- Beam Spam: During development their ability was "Overload", where they fire a flurry of lasers to attack enemies with a Herd Hitting Attack, then go off-line for a period of time.
- Fragile Speedster: Not too durable, but they're fast enough to make Hit And Run Attacks and outrun other air-to-air fighters.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: Yeah, the Protoss are big on this trope.
- Gravity Master: Their signature ability is to lift a ground unit up within their blasting range.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: Phoenix's are infamous for using their speed and maneuverability to dance circles around larger air units, attack, then make their getaway.
The new Protoss transport, consisting of a crystal "computer" inside a mechanical structure, the crystal can covert matter into energy, allowing it to transport even the massive Colossus across great distances. It can also transform into a stationary form to tap into the psionic matrix and provide pylon power.
- Applied Phlebotinum: To elaborate on the above description, the Warp Prism is a crystal lattice controlled by a robotic mind created by psionic manufacturing techniques, capable of converting matter into energy, imprinting the subject's energy signature on the crystal, then reconfiguring that energy signature back into matter... Yeah.
- Drop Ship: They're the new Protoss transport.
- Mook Maker: Thanks to its ability to become a floating Pylon, you can use them in tandem with Warp Gates to create units anywhere.
- Transforming Mecha: The Warp Prism can change between two modes, one where it's a mobile transit unit, the other has it as a stationary power-producing units.
"Prismatic core on-line"
A Protoss support ship, it is armed with a prismatic beam that fires a steady stream of energy. The longer it fires at a single target the better the crystals firing the beam align together, slowly intensifying the beam's energy output and doing more damage.
- Converging Stream Weapon: Their weapons converge on a crystal hovering in the middle of their laser array that combines the beams into one.
- Evolving Attack: The longer they attack a single target, the higher their damage climbs.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: Fire long continuous lasers at enemies.
- Glass Cannon: Surprisingly fragile for its cost and damage output, and are often considered some of the most valuable units in an army to keep alive. If they are kept alive, their charged beams kill even small, massed anti-air units like Marines very quickly.
- Wave Motion Gun: Their laser gets impressively large at full power.
- Yin-Yang Bomb: According to the lore, it was designed by combining Dark Templar and Khalai manufacturing techniques, and its powerful energy beam is created by combining the two forms of psionic energy.
The new Protoss capital ship in Heart of the Swarm
, it is a very
long-range siege ship that blasts enemies from beyond their normal line of sight.
- The Bus Came Back: The Tempest was in the Wings of Liberty alpha as a dedicated anti-ground unit, though it had a different appearance. It got cut when the Carrier made it back into the game in Wings of Liberty, only to return in Heart of the Swarm. How it's the original Tempest In Name Only: The original cut Tempest was basically a modified carrier, while this final Tempest is entirely different.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: It's stated that handling the humongous amount of energy that uses the Tempest takes a toll on the body of its pilots, something lessened by the armor they wear.
- Energy Ball: Word of God has commented that the massive sphere of electricity that dominates the front of the ship is as much a part of its design appearance as the actual ship.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: Flavor Text mentions that, due to the strain that handling the Tempest has on the protoss, its only piloted by loyal and fanatic protoss, hence why the unit portrait looks like an armored Zealot.
- Siege Engine: Remember how Siege Tanks can hit a few squares outside their sight range if another unit spots for them? The Tempest can hit outside their spotter's sight range!
An aerial support caster debuting in Heart of the Swarm
, Oracles featured a variety of abilities during development. In the final product, they can detect hidden enemies and reveal areas in the fog of war, making them effective scouts. They can also attack units with a damage buff against light targets, making them dangerous harassers. Legacy of the Void
combined their two abilities into one and gave it a new ability in Stasis Ward.
- Spy Bot: was formerly able to either stop the enemy from seeing or give you sight on an enemy building (depending on the build); the latter of which had obvious synergy with the Tempest's BVR attack. Now it just has the 60-seconds-vision ability.
- Squishy Wizard: its raw-damage ability is horribly potent; two harassing Oracles can chew through an entire base's worth of Worker Units in about five seconds.
- Trap Master: In Legacy of the Void they can set Stasis Wards, cloaked traps that trigger against nearby units and freeze them in stasis.
- True Sight: Can make itself a detector to sense cloaked and burrowed enemies.
A spellcasting ship with potent abilities, the Protoss are only allowed to have one at a time. It can use "Mass Recall" to return itself and all nearby units to your base; "Photon Overcharge" to turn your Nexus into a giant Photon Cannon; and "Time Warp" to reduce the movement speed and attack speed of all units in the chosen area for a short time. Finally, once you climb the Tech Tree enough, it can be upgraded into a Mothership (see below).
"Justice has come!"
The height of Protoss air power, a flying city long used as a mobile base in the lore but not deployed in the field until now. Compared to the Mothership Core, it trades in Photon Overcharge and movement speed for an Invisibility Cloak
that shrouds everything near the Mothership. It used to have a black-hole ability called "Vortex," but it was Dummied Out
for being overused.
- Awesome but Impractical: While its abilities and power are impressive, its long build time, top-tier tech requirements and huge resource cost make it difficult to deploy, and once it hits the field it moves very slowly and needs time to build up a store of energy to use properly. This is why the Mothership Core was introduced, making the Mothership less impractical.
- Combination Attack: When combined with Archons, the stacking effect Vortex has on air units plus the Archons' splash damage leads to the splash destroying nearly any air unit caught within the Vortex after they emerge. The Fan Nickname for this was "Archon Toilet."
- Flying Saucer: Their design aesthetic.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: Six of them at a time!
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the lore, they are the height of Protoss power, and are Kill Sats armed with a "Planet Cracker" superweapon that can purify planets ala classic Mothership from Independence Day. We witness one such ability in Wings of Liberty on a smaller scale. In the gameplay, however, they are Arbiter-like spellcasters with a weak attack that, if not protected, can be killed by Marines. Justified, since in the beta they had the Planet Cracker and the ability to create Black Holes that obliterate fleets, but that was obviously overpowered. The Archon Toilet combined with the Invisibility Cloak compensated for the Mothership's weaknesses, forcing more tactical and economic gameplay.
- Large and In Charge: Without question the largest unit in multiplayer. In the campaign its rivalled by the Odin and the Leviathan.
- Mighty Glacier: Sort of. Compared one-on-one with most units, and the Mothership fits the bill: Its attack inflicts a decent amount of damage that can kill Marines and workers in a single volley when upgraded, it has a sizable bank of health, and it is slow. However, its main attack uses multiple low damage lasers (that get easily dulled by armor upgrades), and the Mothership itself is a costly investment that is a super-spellcaster at best, rather than a combat unit.
- Revealing Coverup: if you see a single Mothership floating towards you, you know she's got a bunch of guys hiding under her Invisibility Cloak. In addition, since the Mothership does not cloak herself, she's the only thing you can shoot.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Of the Arbiter.
- The Mother Ship: They're based on this idea.
- Unrealistic Black Hole: Vortex, which was actually named Black Hole during development.
A Zerg-attuned Hybrid that attacks at close range with claw attacks.
- Bonus Boss: In a sense. It appears in the optional secret mission in Wings of Liberty, but will respawn if you kill it.
- Elite Mook: In Heart of the Swarm you fight several of them as minibosses in a mission.
- Fangs Are Evil: Have the distinctive Zerg jaws.
- Giant Mooks: They're taller than an Ultralisk.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Bright blue.
- Mighty Glacier: High HP and power, low speed.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: They're mostly Zerg in design but have some Protoss elements as well.
- Tron Lines: Their skin has glowing blue lines over it.
- Uneven Hybrid: Zerg/Protoss, leans towards the former.
- Weaksauce Weakness: One of the most efficient ways to win the final Protoss mission where the Hybrids swarm you in waves is to build a fleet of Phoenix and use their Graviton Beams to levitate the Hybrids, taking them out of the fight and making it easy for your other units to focus fire them down.
A Protoss-attuned Hybrid that fires blasts of psionic energy.