Characters: Starcraft Units

The units of StarCraft and Brood War. Click here to return to the main index.

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"SCV good to go, Sir!"

The workhorse of the Terrans, they're used to gather resources and construct buildings, as well as repairing damaged structures and mechanical units.

  • Action Survivor: They're not designed for combat, but can still protect themselves despite their weak attack. They're notably the most durable of the worker units, 60 HP in the original game and 45 in the sequel to 40 HP Drones and 20/20 HP and Shield Probes. As a result, with maybe a couple marines to help out and/or conditional micro, it's possible for SCVs to fend off a Zergling rush.
  • Boring but Practical: Like every Worker Unit. You're not getting anything done without them, so get used to spending plenty of minerals on them.
  • Combat Medic: In the mechanical sense, they can repair vehicles and are often brought along for the steady HP restoration mid-combat (though it's not enough to save something under heavy fire).
  • Easy Logistics: Who needs things like resupply and repair pauses when you can have SCVs follow your army around and repair everything mechanical mid-combat? Even Thors and Battlecruisers. While said Battlecruisers are midair.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Space Construction Vehicle.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Their drill can cut through hard minerals, and yet it does less damage than a marine's Gauss rifle.
  • Lampshade Hanging: A possible response to commanding them to attack anything in StarCraft II is "What, you run out of marines?"
  • Magic Tool: Their drill can do anything, including cutting apart minerals, constructing buildings, and repairing units. In the sequel in allied games they can repair Protoss units too. About the only thing it can't do is serve as decent weapon.
  • Mini-Mecha: Despite appearing as tall as a Marine, that little glass window isn't the faceplate of the armor, that's the cockpit of the mecha. It's still dwarfed by the Thor though.
  • Red Shirt: Whichever unlucky SCV gets sent out to do some early scouting is liable to wind up as one of these if they encounter the enemy.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: A single SCV can build huge buildings in usually little more than a minute, two minutes tops with the largest, the Command Center. Partially justified in both games since the animation implies the use of pre-fabricated parts, and in the sequel construction animations show a crane rig aiding the SCV in the work, but the little guy still builds structures much larger than it in lightning speed.
  • This Is a Drill: Although their weapon is listed as "Fusion cutter", it is quite clearly this trope.
  • Units Not to Scale: A rather egregious case with the SCV- in game, it is about the size of a marine making it easy to think it is simply a man in power armor intended for heavy duty work. In reality, it is the size of a small mech and that glass housing is the cockpit. This is how big they are in lore.
  • Worker Unit: In Starcraft, there is no such thing as "just a worker unit". Their sheer necessity for mining, constructing, and repairing makes them prime targets for harass or for back-line attacks.


"You want a piece of me, boy?"

The main force of the Terran squad, they're not very impressive in the HP or power department but make up for it with good versatility for their cost. A comparatively small squad of Marines with Stimpacks and Medic support is a serious threat if the opponent isn't prepared for it.

  • Abnormal Ammo: Their guns can be upgraded to fire depleted uranium slugs instead of steel spikes. This only increases their range, which is odd considering how very nasty depleted uranium shells are.
  • BFG: Their main weapon the Gauss Impaler rifle, which looks big even with their huge armor. It's as big as an unarmoured human being.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Their combat shield upgrade doesn't actually function as a shield in any way, rather it gives them +10 HP.
  • Boring Yet Practical: Forms the backbone of any Terran army and a necessary part of most mainstream strategies. Compared to their equivalents, the Zergling and the Zealot, Marines stand out as having not only ranged attack, but having anti-air capability, making them more versatile too.
  • Boxed Crook: Standard procedure is to conscript criminals into the ranks and resocialize them into being obedient.
  • Cannon Fodder: Played for Laughs, even — flavor text for the Medic in the Brood War manual mentions that with the Medic's support, the average life expectancy of a frontline Marine has risen to nine seconds. Note that in large-scale fights in-game, this statistic is not an exaggeration.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Stimpack, which costs 10 HP but doubles their movement and attack rates for a period of time. However, if Medics are around, you can regenerate these hit points ala energy, with the number/energy of Medics as the only limit.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: As noted under Cannon Fodder, they're played as a Red Shirt Army in-game not long for the world once they get sent out. In actual gameplay, a comparatively small group of Marines with good micro can be very dangerous in spite of their fragility. One of the top professional players for the sequel uses the handle "MarineKing"; he lives up to the title.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Marines use a grenade launcher attachment on their assault rifles in cutscenes. In gameplay, it's not even a special ability (it was cut in Beta for being imbalanced). Similarly, SCII marines use a cutscene-only bayonet; also cut for being imbalanced.
  • Glass Cannon: Give them Stimpacks and get a decent sized group and they'll destroy anything in seconds. But they only have 40 HP (base 45 in the sequel) so even with Medics they'll die if you so much as sneeze on them.
  • Lampshade Hanging: One of their Stop Poking Me quotes: "(suspiciously) Ya ever notice how Marines never go back to the Barracks?"
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Get a combat shield that in Starcraft II.
  • Magnetic Weapons: Their "rifles" are actually coilguns, which is how they can fire in space. Though they still make noise like regular rifles, they don't eject shells and fire very small bits of ammunition, which is how their magazines can hold such ludicrous amounts of ammunition without running dry. Theoretically, anyway. (The art team didn't always get the memo; which has grown an Epilectic Tree about them being hybrids of old-fashioned cartridge-based assault rifle and fancy space gun.)
  • More Dakka: Their rifles fire on full automatic. Expect to hear plenty of dakka when a sufficiently !large group of them are in combat.
  • Power Armor: Like all Terran infantry, the Power Armor is designed to survive space vacuum first, miniature prison second, and actual protection third. The result is that Marines' gauss rifles will tear straight through the glorified space suits and they don't fare any better against heavier weapons.
  • Restraining Bolt: Because most Marines are conscripted criminals, they undergo neural resocializing to erase their memories and former personalities, giving them nice Fake Memories and rendering them completely obedient.
  • Space Marine: Provide the page picture.


"Need a light?"

A bulkier infantry unit armed with wrist-mounted flamethrowers, they excel at fighting lightly armored small units, making them ideal for fending off rushes of zerglings and zealots, but are helpless against armored enemies and air units.

  • Awesome but Impractical: While they excel against small, lightly armored ground units, their range, hit points and cost make them far less useful than they could be. This results in them being removed (except from the single-player campaign) in Starcraft II. They're seen as this In-Universe compared to the Marauders, who redesign the Firebat suits as heavy assault units. One of the biggest problems with the Firebat suit is that the chemicals leak into the user compartment, eventually driving every wearer insane.
  • Arm Cannon: Their flamethrowers fire from their wrists.
  • Boxed Crook: Just like the Marine.
  • Cast From Hitpoints: Shares the Marine's Stimpack.
  • Cigar Chomper: Had a great big one in the first game, due to the helmet being more like a Marine's.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Firebats are only useful for one thing: torching clusters of lightly armored units, and even then they have to be within melee range. Given their lack of answers to air units, armored units, and light units that can outrun it, it's not hard to see why they're seen as less useful than Marauders (both in-universe and out).
  • The Juggernaut: In StarcCraft II they get the appropriately named Juggernaut Plating which upgrades their armor rating to 3, giving them the same defenses as a Battlecruiser.
  • Kill It with Fire: Hint: they're called Firebats.
  • Mini-Mecha: In the sequel, they take up two bunker slots; and were originally going to be built from the factory to represent the sheer bulk of their armor.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: In the sequel they get upgrades to their defenses and the splash radius of their attack, as well as having innately higher HP, making them much stronger than in the original game. However, with Hellions, Perdition Turrets, and Predators, the Terran have much stronger alternatives for melee supporters.
  • Power Armor: Unlike Marine armor, Firebat suits have very thick plating designed for withstanding sustained fire-useful for getting into melee range.
  • Psycho for Hire: Even though both Marines and Firebats are mostly conscripted convicts, he majority of Firebats were convicted murderers. According to the sequel's flavor text, the operator compartment isn't properly sealed against the various gases and compounds used in the flamethrowers, so if they aren't already when conscripted, Firebats end up a little unstable.
  • Pyromaniac: Some of the criminals operating them are even taken into the ranks for being this.
  • Simple Yet Awesome: Verges into this in the sequel since they are lower in the tier rank, can be healed without cost unlike the Hellion or Predatornote  and can be garrisoned in a bunker, something incredibly useful given that most of the campaign is played defensively.
  • Splash Damage: A useful trait for facing Zerg.
  • Videogame Flamethrowers Suck: As part of Crippling Overspecialization they can't attack air units and get a heavy damage penalty against armored and large units. This gives them a penalty when attacking anything that isn't a Marine, Zergling or Zealot, rendering them entirely ineffective except against those units, and even then the Marine and Zealot can take them on by virtue of the Marine's superior range and the Zealot's superior HP. With Medic support they can stand up to the three better, but are still useless against larger armored enemies. In the sequel it takes them 1 second to light their fire and another to actually fire the flamethrower.


"Please state the nature of your medical emergency!"

Introduced in Brood War, Medics can heal biological units, making the Terran infantry infinitely more useful by extending their longevity dramatically.

  • The Medic: The name is a hint — it specializes in healing other units.
  • Nanomachines: The official explanation for how their abilities work.
  • Power Armor: Wears the CMC-405 light combat suit.
  • Shoot the Medic First: In StarCraft II a new value assigned to units determines what targets the AI gives priority to killing. Medics get higher priority than other infantry, meaning if it sees them the AI will try to kill them first.
  • Simple Yet Awesome: In the sequel's terran campaign, their upgrades makes them able to be used without the need of a tech lab and makes their heal even more effective than the medivac's one, and thus, making them more useful for an infantry unit.
  • Squishy Wizard: Averted, comparatively speaking—with 1 armor and 60 HP they're tied with the Firebat for having the best durability of the Terran infantry. Played straight in the sequel where they keep the same stats while everyone else got an HP boost, making only the Marine weaker than them, and only by 5 HP.
  • Support Party Member: They don't even have a basic attack to defend themselves with.


"Somebody call for an exterminator?"

The Ghost's role in the Terran military depends on if you refer to the gameplay or the story. In the story they're the elite troops of the Terrans, covert assassins that demonstrate near-supernatural powers due to their incredible psychic abilities. In the game they're support troops that specialize in calling down nuclear bombardments and disabling enemies.

  • Achilles' Heel: Ironically enough, they are very vulnerable to having their Energy drained.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Snipe is effective at devastating single heavily-armored Biological targets.
  • Awesome but Impractical: In the first game due to their position at the very top of the tech tree and the huge cost to train and upgrade them. Any decent opponent can also scout out your base, and the sight of a Covert Ops will immediately tip them off to build detector turrets around their base so they can see the Ghost coming. Averted in the sequel where they're much lower on the tech tree, and out of the box without upgrades still make good supporters with Snipe and EMP Shot.
  • Badass Boast: "You called down the thunder, now reap the whirlwind."
  • Cold Sniper: The best shots in the Terran military and very cold about it.
  • Crosshair Aware: Beware the blinking red dot if you see it in your base and find the source immediately!note 
  • Death from Above: Their Nukes.
  • Dodge the Bullet: According to Expanded Universe materials(Starcraft Ghost: Spectres to be exact), they are capable of pulling this off.This may be the reason why in the second game they have twice the hit points of a marine while using lighter armour.
  • Electronic Eyes: One of their upgrades in the original game involved removing their organic eyes with "superior" replacements, allowing them to call down nukes from out of its range. Though fairly common by the sequel, in the original the surgery was noted to be extremely painful.
  • EMP: Their Lockdown ability is explained as this, short-circuiting mechanical units to stun them. In the sequel they swap it out for the Science Vessel's EMP, draining the shields and energy of units in a radius.
  • Faceless Goons: To emphasize the fact that they have almost no humanity left, since they're subject to VERY heavy doses of brainwashing and implants.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Ghost suits are represented in the lore as tight Spy Catsuits, which is why Ghosts have no armor rating.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: As told above, according to the lore Ghosts are elite assassins capable of a variety of psychic abilities including mind-reading, super-speed and reflexes, Hyper Awareness, and more. None of these abilities come into play in any game thus far, though Ghost would have included them in various capacities.
  • Glass Cannon: While they're too expensive to use for offensive purposes, they do pack much more of a punch than any other terran infantry unit in the original game. In both games, their ability to call in nukes allows them to deal more damage to enemy base than any other non-campaign unit.
  • Invisibility Cloak: That may be due to their Psychic Powers.
    • It is actually provided by piece of tech imaginatively called Personal cloaking device which is in fact psionically powered.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: The result of giving psychologically unstable special ops access to nuclear missiles.
    "Whenever I see a world untouched by war, a world of innocence, a world of lush forests and clear rivers. [Beat] I really just wanna nuke the crap out of it!"
    "Today's forecast is... extra bomby, slight chance of mushroom clouds."
  • Mana Burn: EMP does this to Energy, effectively stopping special units from using their abilities.
  • No Ontological Inertia: If you kill a Ghost targeting a Nuclear Launch, the missile strike doesn't happen. Doesn't matter if it's within the last possible second and the nuke was visibly about to reach the ground, if the Ghost dies it'll just vanish.
  • Psychic Powers: Ghost candidates are born with them and they're honed to a deadly edge during training.
  • Psycho Serum: It's noted that the drugs that enhance Ghosts' psychic abilities are not... very good for their mental stability, though that's dealt with using brainwashing.
  • Restraining Bolt: Unlike the Marine theirs isn't just to keep them obedient, it's to keep their powers in check.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: The nuke they summon has a relatively small area of effect. However, it will destroy most units outright. It's much weaker in the sequel, but still can cause havoc if used correctly. In the original sense of the trope, the area that gets nuked is still usable and non-radioactive soon afterwards.
  • Stealth Expert: Unless an enemy has True Sight, they stay cloaked as long as their Energy meter lets them.
  • Support Party Member: They're elites, but they're not killing very much on their own in direct combat.
  • Telepathic Spacemen: A special division of the Terrans with psychic powers.
  • You Nuke 'Em: Ghosts are not known for their subtlety in dealing with larger problems.
  • Your Head Asplode: The typical result of a Ghost using Snipe on a target.


"Alright, bring it on!"

Speedy hoverbike units, they're armed with grenade launchers and make excellent scouts due to their low cost and very high speed. They can also lay Spider Mines to surprise and ambush unsuspecting armies.

  • Awesome but Impractical: Jim Raynor defends the Vulture bike as a classic piece of engineering, Rory Swann counters with the fact that it explodes when the Anti Gravity fails or leaking radioactive batteries.
  • Badass Biker: Surly, speedy, and ready for a fight any time.
  • Cool Bike: Zigzagged. As noted above, while Raynor thinks this trope, the Vulture has a history of mechanical failures and sloppy design that make them hazardous to operate.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Possibly even a Sour Supporter.
  • Fragile Speedster: They can outrun almost every other unit, and remove the "almost" from the sentence once you upgrade their speed. Good thing, because most of those other units will kill them in a straight-up fight.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Averted: Marines are notoriously untrusting of the Spider Mines' friend-or-foe identification.
  • Grenade Launcher: Their weaponry.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Spider mines are notorious among marines for their poor tracking systems. If close range units attack you, the mines will blow them up as well as your units. The lore says there has been several movies in universe about Spider Mines gaining sentience and going on a rampage.
  • Military Maverick: Goes with the Badass Biker persona.
  • Mook Maker: One of their upgrades in the sequel allows them to create more Spider mines, of course, you pay 15 minerals for each new mine, but it enables you to create a true mined field without having to create too many vultures.
  • Parenthetical Swearing: "I read you, sir."
  • Splash Damage: Their Spider Mines, in the sequel, one of the upgrades gives them a higher damage output and a bigger range.
  • Super-Persistent Missile: Once a Spider Mine locks onto a target that comes in range, it'll leap up and chase it until it can explode on them.

Siege Tank

"Ready to roll out!"

One of the iconic units of the series, these are normal tanks complete with treads and turrets...until they switch into Siege Mode, clamping down retractable legs and raising their turrets to the sky to bombard enemies from range with powerful cannon blasts.

  • Achilles' Heel: Capable of blowing most things on the grounds to smithereens before they get close... but send some air units and watch those Siege Tanks go back to tread mode and haul ass.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In the sequel, improved AI prevents groups of Siege Tanks from overkilling units- that is to say, all 10 of your tanks won't fire to kill one Zergling, only one will (making it harder to exploit the reload time).
  • Boisterous Bruiser: The man loves his job.
    This'll be a blast!
    It's BOOM time!
  • Friendly Fireproof: Averted, sending melee units often spells the doom of enemies as the tanks shoot both, or even the tanks themselves if deployed within range of each other. One of the upgrades in the sequel reduces damage to friendly units by 75%.
  • Glass Cannon: They can kill pretty much any non-air force, but being unable to move and unable to fire at targets too close means they're very easy to kill.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Their high power and Splash Damage can be turned back on an opponent through the use of melee units, thereby ensuring their units will take just as much damage as yours, if not more. In the sequel, the campaign allows an upgrade that makes the shells more guided in order to steer them away from allied units.
  • Instant Death Radius: You do NOT want to wander into its Siege Mode's firing range.
  • Irony: "I got no patience for sittin' around!" *switches to Siege Mode where he does exactly that*
  • Lampshade Hanging: One of its Stop Poking Me quotes addresses its minimum range issues: "Why don't you walk about thirty yards out and stand still for me?"
  • Large Ham: One of the hammiest in the game.
  • No Indoor Voice: The Siege Tank driver tries his darndest to make sure he's heard over the engine roar.
  • "Ride of the Valkyries": Sings it as a Stop Poking Me quote.
  • Siege Engine: A Siege Tank's real strength comes from its ability to either bombard static defenses from well outside retaliatory range or to act as static defenses themselves. Park a group of them outside an enemy base to deny ground unit movement, just watch out for inevitable aerial attacks.
  • Splash Damage: Combined with their massive range, its what makes them so deadly. When given the order to move units tend to bunch up and don't spread out to fight until they see an enemy, and few are the units with attack ranges equal to their sight range. Thus odds are they'll still be bunched up and moving in when the Siege Tank opens fire on them, and that splash damage will do more than enough damage to make up for the slow rate of fire.
  • Tank Goodness: Most of their value comes from their stationary turret mode, not their mobile tread mode though.
  • Transforming Mecha: Not quite a mecha, but the way it transitions from vehicle to stationary turret has the transformation part.
  • The Worf Effect: In campaign modes, the easiest way to show how powerful a unit is seems to be to effortlessly destroy a Siege Tank.


"Goliath on-line."

Combat walkers, they're all-around solid units specializing as anti-air support.

  • Chicken Walker: As per the next trope, it has these legs.
  • Expy: Of the ED-209. It even name drops ED in a Stop Poking Me quote.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Likes to list off several as Stop Poking Me quotes.
  • Jack of All Stats/Master of None: In the original game. The Goliath has all-around decent HP, cost and damage output. However, it's outclassed by most other units; Siege Tanks have siege capabilities, Marines have superior DPS, and Wraiths have cloaking and greater speed and mobility. This is why Brood War gave their air attack a damage buff and range increase from the base game, as it gave the Goliath a niche use (long-range anti-air) that another unit wasn't already doing better than it.
  • Mighty Glacier: In the single-player campaign in the sequel, they get unique upgrades that increase the range of both their ground and air attacks and allow them to attack ground and air enemies simultaneously. In tandem with buffs to their damage on both fronts they're very effective against mixed armies. They're still held back by their slow movement speed and supply cost of 3.
  • More Dakka: Their primary armament is a brace of automatic cannons, and a missile launcher similar to the one on Turrets. In the sequel, merc goliaths have miniguns.


"Wraith awaiting launch orders."

The standard Terran starfighter, armed with missiles and lasers and protected by a personal cloaking field.

  • Cool Starship: Fast and maneuverable armed with lasers and missiles.
  • Danger Deadpan: In StarCraft II, they remain remarkably calm even when they come under attack while you're focusing on another part of the map.
  • Fragile Speedster: Very quick but low damage output and quickly blasted out of the sky when the opponent can fire on them. This is why their Cloaking Field is so vital to getting good usage out of them. The sequel notices this and offers two unique upgrades to enhance their cloaking, one of which allows them to potentially dodge incoming fire while cloaked.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Their ground attack.
  • Invisibility Cloak: They have cloaking just like the ghost.
  • Space Fighter: They're perfectly able to operate in space or on the ground.

Science Vessel

"Explorer reporting!"

A Terran support vessel equipped with technology to study the Zerg and Protoss and weaponry to deal with them.

  • Badass Labcoat: In the sequel.
  • Boring Yet Practical: In the sequel, this is why they're generally chosen over Ravens. Despite fighting zerg, Irradiate isn't really used, nor the detector function. Just nano-repair. It's that useful to have nano-repair that it alone is reason enough to pick the Science Vessel over the Raven.
  • Deflector Shields: Their Defensive Matrix.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Science Vessels are basically space stations and are appropriately huge, and an entire mission takes place inside of one. In-game they're not much bigger than any other mechanical unit and smaller than most buildings.
  • Herd Hitting Attack: Irradiate covers a unit in a cloud of radiological fog that damages it and any nearby biological units.
  • Nanomachines: Their Nano-Repair in the sequel.
  • Non-Action Guy: No attack to defend itself, and its abilities only do so much.
  • Support Party Member: They are not frontline fighters and are best used by firing off the appropriate abilities and then retreating to safety.
  • True Sight: They can detect cloaked and burrowed units.
  • Units Not to Scale: See above under Gameplay and Story Segregation. To add to it, a battlecruiser is bigger than the science vessel in gameplay, in one everything else, the science vessel is bigger.


"Can I take your order?"

Flying personal carriers used to ferry troops around.


"Valkyrie prepared!"

A Terran starfighter introduced into the sector by the UED, they fire clusters of missiles are airborne enemies to decimate opposing fleets.

  • Crippling Overspecialization: Their method of splash damage is to do 6 damage a shot and fire several shots at once that do splash damage over a large area. Unfortunately, that meant the Valyrie was only useful against the zerg. When facing Terrans or Protoss, their ships tend to have armor or are not traditionally produced in numbers, making the Valkyrie much less useful against them. And even with the Zerg, the Wraith and Goliath are almost as effective due to their lower cost and tech tree placement. All in all, the only thing the Valkyrie is worth using for is countering mutalisk swarms.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: They only do 6 damage a shot, but they fire so many rockets out at a time that it adds up quickly.
  • Fragile Speedster: They move fast, have good HP and armor, and shred light air units, but their low base damage makes them exponentially weaker against armored units.
  • Gratuitous German: "Of course, mein Herr!"
  • Macross Missile Massacre
  • Put on a Bus: They put in no appearance in Starcraft II. Air units named Valkyries appear in a single Heart of the Swarm mission, but they look and behave totally different and appear to be a separate unit.
  • Splash Damage: Their key strength — they tear up clumped units.
  • The Worf Effect: Their introduction in the campaign in Brood War is to pit seven of them against around three dozen Mutalisks. The Valkyries win with usually five or six ships still flying.


"Battlecruiser operational."

The Terran capital ships, massive flying vessels with a lot of firepower and costing a lot of resources. If there's an important Terran character in the single-player, they're either commanding a Battlecruiser or serve under someone who does.

  • The Alcoholic: In the sequel. "The Yamato is loaded, and so am I..."
  • Awesome but Impractical: A Battlecruiser only fired a single shot whose rate of fire is slow (despite it's armament as a battery of lasers in the cutscenes), so if you don't mass them or use their Yamato Cannon ability, they're overpriced. Also a big case here in the second game. By the time you muster up the tech and resources required to build them, you would no longer need them nor would you want them. Their speed is atrocious, they cost too much, they have an energy bar (Protoss bait) and worst of all, are mostly useful against units with low armor. Comparing them to Ultralisks and Colossi is laughable at best. On the other hand as in II they are much more resilient, and can fire multiple rounds, and in fleet they are nigh unstoppable.
  • Beam Spam: In the original game, Battlecruisers attacked slowly but did high damage (despite supposedly being armed with a battery of lasers). The sequel takes them the exact opposite direction, giving them low base damage but attacking very quickly, resulting in this trope.
  • Deflector Shields: Get Defense Matrix in the sequel Campaign.
  • Expy: The unit portrait is one of Captain Henry Gloval from Anime/Robotech, at least for 1 and Brood War.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The second game switched out the slow-firing Wave Motion Gun for a Beam Spam barrage instead.
  • Gratuitous Russian: Averted, but the pilot still has a definite Russian accent.
  • Ineffectual Loner: A single unsupported Battlecruiser isn't accomplishing much on its own (even with its Yamato Cannon). Either bring them in fleet or protect it with a lot of other units as it does it job leveling things.
  • Lovable Coward: Has shades in the sequel. Most notably, if they come under attack when they are offscreen, they'll say either "It's a trap!" or "Abandon ship!"
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Missile Pods in StarCraft II.
  • Made of Iron: In StarCraft I they're the only unit able to survive a direct hit from a nuclear missile, having exactly as much HP as the missile does damage, along with 3 points of armor. Granted, unless you get them to an SCV quickly they won't last long after that.
  • Mighty Glacier: With high damage output, a lot of HP and high armor, a fleet of them can level a base and the army defending it...once they get there that is.
  • Splash Damage: Missile Pods again.
  • Units Not to Scale/Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the lore they're basically flying city-sized Battlestars armed with Beam Spam and More Dakka to singlehandedly take on swarms of Zerg. In-game they're certainly one of the largest units, but still not to scale, did weaker damage (in StarCraft I they only fired a slow and single shot with high damage, in StarCraft II they had low base damage but attacking very quickly) and are smaller than some buildings.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The iconic Yamato Cannon, inspired by the anime that features the Wave Motion Gun. it's easier to list stuff that it won't kill outright than stuff that it will.



The Zerg worker, in charge of gathering resources. Can lay down on creep to mutate into the Zerg structures.

  • Action Survivor: As with the other worker units, they are not made to fight but they are able to defend themselves if base raiders come.
  • Power Floats: They hover over the ground slightly.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Justified; Drones do not build buildings, they mutate into them in the same way a larvae mutates into a Zerg unit. It's still very fast, but the Zerg as a whole have Hyperactive Metabolism so the speed of construction is not out of place.
  • Worker Unit: The Zerg's way to gather resources and construct buildings.


The basic Zerg unit, a dinosaur-like creature arms with fangs and claws to tear apart anything they can.

  • Boring Yet Practical: Individually, they're the cheapest units in the game. Much like the Marine and Zealot, simply mutating a massive force of Zerglings can be a perfectly viable option if the opponent isn't prepared.
  • Depending on the Artist: The Zergling's appearance varies from product to product that it appears in, though it could simply be differences between strains or simply showing how the zerg are constantly evolving.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: The Zergling upgrades into either the Raptor or the Swarmling in StarCraft II. Raptors leap up cliffs and jump at prey at short distances to quickly close in, Swarmlings produce three from an egg rather than two and mutate instantly.
  • Fragile Speedster: Their base speed is already higher than either a zealot's or marine's, but they also have an upgrade called Metabolic Boost that almost doubles their speed, and when they're on creep they get the standard Zerg speed bonus to make them the fastest ground unit in the game. However, they have 35 hit points, and need to be at melee range to do anything; they die fast.
  • Glass Cannon: A pack of Zerglings with their attack rate upgrade and a couple of weapon upgrades will tear apart anything in seconds, as long as the target doesn't fight back.
  • Mascot Mook: By far one of the most famous units of the Starcraft franchise thanks to the Zerg Rush meme being known even outside the RTS realm.
  • Power Gives You Wings: When they get their speed upgrade in the sequel they sprout locust-like wings.
  • Sequence Breaking: The act of spawning Zerglings as fast as the game allows BEFORE a proper economy can be set up is what lead to the original instances of Zerg Rush. Nowadays people are wise to early rushes and start setting up defenses accordingly.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Raptor strain; which is faster, tougher, and can scale cliffs; and can pull off a Deadly Lunge
  • Weaksauce Weakness: In Wings of Liberty, Donny Vermillion claims they are allergic to lemon juice. At first, this seems like more propaganda, but Abathur confirms this in Heart of the Swarm.
  • Wings Do Nothing: For obvious reasons their wings in the sequel don't actually let the Zergling fly. Averted in Heart of the Swarm's campaign; the wings are exclusive to the Raptor, who leap up cliffs and jump at enemy units.
  • Zerg Rush: The Trope Namer and Trope Codifier. The Zergling's low cost and the fact they hatch two from an egg makes it quick and cheap to get a massive army of them, but they have only 35 HP and die quickly. The Swarmling in Heart of the Swarm makes them even better at this trope, mutating in seconds and mutating three from an egg.


The Zerg ranged fighter, tensing its muscles to snap out needle spines from its shoulder plates as fast as any bullet.

  • Anti-Air: Their main purpose is mobile anti-air though they're seen backing up Roaches fighting ground forces.
  • Ballistic Bone: Their spines are missile-shaped bones that they shoot by tensing their muscles.
  • Jack of All Stats: In the original game, Hydralisks have all-around decent HP, damage and movement speed, effective upgrades, and usable cost.
  • Glass Cannon: In the sequel they got a damage buff, as well as the new damage system removing their penalty when attacking small units. But they still only have 80 HP despite being higher on the tech tree. They don't get as much use because the Roach has taken the spot as the ranged anti-ground unit, with the Hydralisk now serving as anti-air.
  • Ornamental Weapon: Their claws, which, despite being thoroughly displayed in cutscenes, are rendered useless in the original game: They always use their ranged attack. In the sequel, Hydralisks use them in melee combat as a purely cosmetic attack note  with the same effective damage and upgrades as their ranged attack.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Definitely emits a snake vibe.
  • Sinister Scythe: Has preying mantis-like arms with blades extending from them.
  • Spike Shooter: 30 cm long spikes to be exact.


An evolution of the Hydralisk, they're defenseless above ground. But once burrowed they can unleash waves of spines along the ground to impale enemies from below. In Heart of the Swarm they're diversified into the Lurker and the Impaler. The Lurker returned to multiplayer in Legacy of the Void, just as effective as ever.

  • Armor-Piercing Attack: The Impaler deals extra damage to armored targets.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Impaler's attack, compared to the Lurker's spines.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: In Heart of the Swarm the Lurker is but one of the Hydralisk's two evolutionary paths. The other is the Impaler, which attacks just like the Lurker, but attacks single targets and does bonus damage against armor, while the Lurker chews up clumps of light units.
  • Giant Spider: Their design aesthetic, though not with eight limbs.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The fate of units they attack.
  • Siege Engines: They have greater range in Legacy of the Void from the original game, letting them out-range base defenses.
  • Splash Damage: If you don't have detection, that Lurker will kill your Marine/medic deathball in moments.


A flying unit that provides the ability to control Zerg, any Zerg player should have far more of them than needed. They provide numerous other skills including detection and unit transport.

  • Giant Flyer: They're massive; cutscenes from Starcraft: Ghost show a Terran is about the size of their head.
  • Happiness in Infestation/Not Brainwashed: The species from which the overlord were originally derived willingly summonned the Zerg swarm in the face of starvation. There are some hints that they are still sapient. The few remaining overlords who were infested rather than created are definitely sapient.
  • Living Gasbag: They're filled with helium and move with psychic power.
  • Power Floats: They're with the Queen as the only Zerg with psionic skills, they use them to help fly.
  • Power Glows: In the sequel.
  • Red Shirt: Given how Overlords are the only supply counter that can actually move (and fly, no less), they make for great early game scouts. Whichever Overlord encounters the enemy (especially Terrans) is likely to meet this fate though.
  • True Sight: They can detect burrowed and cloaked units in the first game. In the sequel they need to morph into Overseers to do that.
  • Units Not to Scale: Eight Zerglings fit inside? Well comparing the Zergling model to the Overlord, passable. Four Hydralisks? Maybe if they cram in. Two Ultralisks? Yup, this trope must be in effect.


The standard Zerg flier, they move fast and attack enemies by spewing Glaive Wurms at them, which bounce off the initial target to harm nearby enemies as well.

  • Armor-Piercing Attack: A potential evolution for Heart of the Swarm's campaign.
  • Crutch Character: Highly effective at making an enemy's life hell early on, especially against non-Terrans since they don't have Marines for easy anti-air. Less useful once heavier anti-air splash damage units like Thors take to the field, though they still remain useful for combined-arms attacks and for harassing any base that's lightly guarded.
  • Fragile Speedster: Their hit-and-run tactics makes them deadly in the hands of a skilled player, and a fleet of Mutalisks can level an enemy base, but in a straight-up fight they're likely to get killed since like most Zerg they aren't very durable, and against larger armies they'll likely be shredded unless backed up by more durable units.
  • Divergent Character Evolution
    • Before every breed began doing it in Heart of the Swarm, the Mutalisk could evolve into the Guardian, an anti-ground siege unit, or the Devourer, an anti-air armor-corroding support unit. The Mutalisk served as the Jack of All Stats Master of None to the two.
    • The Heart of the Swarm campaign diversifies them into the Brood Lord or Viper strains, and similar to the Guardian and Devourer, the Brood Lord is an anti-ground siege unit and the Viper is an anti-air support unit.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: They're infamous for this. Any player that doesn't know to cover their mineral lines with some anti-air versus Zerg will learn very quickly why that's a good idea.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: In the first game at least, it is dangerous to leave them unsupervised, as the instant they see anything they can attack, they will hare off to do so. Even if it's, for instance, the entire enemy team.
  • Pinball Projectile: Does 9 damage to the first target, 3 to the second and 1 to the third.
  • Splash Damage: And a campaign upgrade in Heart of the Swarm lets them hit even more enemies with it.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: They invoked this between the base game and Brood War. Air unit stacking was a glitch and not intended to be part of gameplay, but it made Mutalisks particularly dangerous because they could be massed the easiest of the air units and their splash damage wreaked havoc. This is why Brood War introduced a new air unit for each faction that did splash damage to air units, giving each race a response to help with Mutalisk harassment.
  • Weaksauce Weakness:
    • Armor upgrades. Armor is straight subtractive, so a target with just 1 armor point takes, instead of 9 + 3 + 1 damage, 8 + 2 + 0.
    • In the sequel, Spore Crawlers. Muta harass was a little too prevalent in Zerg-v-Zerg matches, and so Spore Crawlers, the Zerg anti-air turret, were buffed to do 45 damage a hit to other Zerg units. A single Spore Crawler can now kill a Mutalisk in 3 hits.


Suicidal dive bombers, they sacrifice themselves to inflict heavy damage to enemy fleets.

  • Action Bomb: They attack by ramming themselves into units and exploding.
  • Fragile Speedster/Glass Cannon: Only 25 HP but 110 damage, and they're very quick.
  • One-Hit Kill: In II, Scourge Nests are activated in order to take down the Gorgon Battlecruisers (so huge they take no damage from regular units).
  • Taking You with Me: At 110 damage, they heavily weaken whatever they hit and make it easy to finish off.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: In Heart of the Swarm Kerrigan brings them in since they're the only artillery she has that can beat the Gorgon battlecruisers.
  • Zerg Rush: An anti-air version, since they also spawn two at a time and rather quickly.


The Zerg flying spellcaster, she supports the swarm with various delibitating abilities. The Queen of StarCraft II is listed with the StarCraft II units on that page since it is the Queen In Name Only.


A specialized Zerg strain laying at the top of their tech tree, Defilers can support the swarm with the various toxins it can spew.

  • Herd Hitting Attack: Plague damages all enemies in an area of effect.
  • Hollywood Acid: Plague is said to be very corrosive.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: Devour, which kills a friendly zerg and converts it into 50 energy.
  • Poison Is Corrosive: Plague wears down armor plating and steel supports.
  • Squishy Wizard: A well-placed Dark Swarm or Plague can punch a nice hole in the enemy's defenses, assuming the 80 HP Defiler can get the ability off safely.
  • The Topic of Cancer: On top of being hideously acidic, Plague is also a carcinogen. Defilers are described as "cancer factories"; In fact, the Defiler Mound is said to be little more than a giant tumor so virulent that it poisons mineral crystals. Apparently the zerg are so adaptable they eat cancer for breakfast and then cook up a way to ruin someone's day with it.
  • Universal Poison: Nothing is immune to Plague. Terran Marines, Protoss Photon Cannons, enemy Zerg — all get infected and damaged at the same rate.


A massive Zerg breed that looks like an elephant if it was designed by Satan, they cleave enemies apart with their Kaiser Blades.

  • Absurdly Sharp Claws: Per fluff, they have a monomolecular edge.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: In Heart of the Swarm they diversify into the Noxious Ultralisk, which emits toxic gas with its attacks to deal even more Splash Damage, or the Torrasque which enters a cocoon when killed and regenerates.
  • Elite Mook: They're basically the Zerg's ground-based answer to the Battlecruiser and Carrier. Abathur calls it "ultimate expression of Swarm evolution".
  • Giant Mook: A cutscene in Heart of the Swarm shows them stomping siege tanks.
  • Herd Hitting Attack: They deal Splash Damage when attacking in StarCraft II.
  • Lightning Bruiser: As befits the name, they hit hard and take a lot of damage, yet still move quite quickly. In Brood War, they are given a speed upgrade making them about as fast as zerglings, in Heart of the Swarm, they are given a burrow charge ability to quickly close with enemies.
  • Sharpened to a Single Atom: Their blades are said to be this as per Absurdly Sharp Claws.
  • Sinister Scythe: The aforementioned Kaiser Blades.
  • Splash Damage: In the sequel.
  • Took a Level in Badass: It seems every time the Ultralisk appears, they just get more and more awesome.
    • Between the original game and Brood War, they got upgrades for their armor and speed.
    • In the sequel, they got to deal splash damage, along with an HP buff and an ability to make them immune to enemy attacks that would stun them, along with the ability to burrow.
    • In Heart of the Swarm, they got a damage buff. The campaign does not apply the buff, but gives them the mentioned Divergent Character Evolution along with the awesome Burrow Charge ability.

Infested Terran

"Live for the Swarm!"

Have a Queen infect a Command Center and this is the result, a Zerg-controlled Terran that will sacrifice his life for the Overmind.

  • Action Bomb: A very dangerous one at 500 damage.
  • Awesome but Impractical: As described under Glass Cannon below, they're too fragile to be of any real use, and that's assuming you can even infest a Command Center to use them in the first place, which requires inflicting considerable damage to it, but not destroy, and then send a queen to infest it, which costs time and resources.
  • Body Horror: Just look at them.
  • Cutting the Knot: Their one appearance in the original campaign has them acting as what amounts to living land mines in an installation level, mines that will one-shot any of your troops they see. Fortunately it's a Protoss level, and the Infested Terrans can't tell the difference between a Zealot and a hallucination of one created by Tassadar.
  • Driven to Suicide: In SC 2, if you look closely when their timer runs out, you see them put their guns to their heads and blow out their own brains (literally; it can be seen tumbling free of the corpse).
  • Elite Zombie: Original Flavour infested terrans are Boomer subtypes; and they hit like nukes. Abberations fit the Brute subtypes, and Infested Marines are still in possession of their gauss rifles; now loaded with stingers instead of steel spikes. Infested colonists, fit the Person Zombie subtype; albeit barely, since they're still lucid enough to beg to be killed. All types of infested terran fit the Regenerator subtype due to the Zerg Healing Factor. The non-canon Tabletop rpg exclusive Mutates fit into Test Subject and Person zombie.
  • For Massive Damage: They deal the most damage of any unit in either game, 500 to be exact, and Splash Damage to boot.
  • Glass Cannon: With 60 HP they aren't going to survive long. With 500 Splash Damage as an attack, the same can be said of their target if they can get there.
  • Parasite Zombie
  • Taking You with Me: Nothing in the campaign takes 500 damage in one shot and survives save for the Torrasque and the Dummied Out Archon Hero. If the Infested Terran explodes on its target, that target is dead.
  • Took a Level in Badass: They're far more useful in Stacraft II and not just because they're spawned by a Mook Maker this time around. They're basically buffed up Marines with higher damage and HP. Their major flaws are their timed life and low speed, both of which are forgiveable if you use them properly.
  • You Will Be Assimilated


A massive and slow-moving unit evolved from the Mutalisk, they fire globs of acid to destroy grounded targets from out of conventional ranges.

  • Giant Enemy Crab: While most Zerg are insectoid or reptilian, the Guardian carries a crustacean vibe with it.
  • Glass Cannon: Long range. High damage. 150 HP. Terrible movement. It's advised players fly their Mutalisks to the attack location and mutate them into Guardians there, because it'll take a long time for the Guardian to get from your base to the enemy's.
  • Hollywood Acid: Unlike the Defiler's Plague, it doesn't actually seem to corrode anything.
  • Siege Engine: An airborne variation.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Brood Lord of the sequel is essentially the Guardian with more HP and the ability to Spawn Broodlings when it attacks. Additionally, the Primal Zerg Guardians fought in Heart of the Swarm have the ability to attack air units as well.


Another strain derived from the Mutalisk, they launch corrosive acid at enemy fleets that eat away at them and slow them down.

  • Crippling Overspecialization: Why they aren't in the sequel, once the enemy air units are dealt with, these things are dead weight because they can't attack ground units, meaning players who use them end up investing money to sacrifice their mutalisks ground attack capabilities for a unit that is only useful in certain situations.
  • Mighty Glacier: Not as slow as the Guardian but still much slower than the Mutalisk. Also much beefier with 250 HP to the Guardian's 150.
  • Splash Damage: A curious variation, while in Brood War the Terrans and Protoss got the Valkyrie and Corsair to add this to their fleets, the Mutalisk already did Splash Damage, it just wasn't that strong. Solution - the Devourer itself doesn't do splash damage, but when it attacks the target and nearby units are splashed with acid spores that cause them to take additional damage and attack slower, thereby powering up the Mutalisk. Their spores can also reveal cloaked units hit with the splash, letting them serve as alternatives to Overlords for detection.
  • Support Party Member: See above.



The Protoss gatherer, they collect resources and can place warp beacons to call in structures.

  • Action Survivor: Frequently the target of mineral line attacks by Hellions, Reapers, Mutalisks, Stalkers, etc.
  • Boring but Practical: Again, you're not getting anything done with them.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Their tools for gathering minerals.
  • Non-Action Guy: Yes, they can technically attack, but it still takes many of them to zap a Zergling to death.
  • Red Shirt: The likely fate of the unlucky Probe that gets sent on scouting duty.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Averted compared to the SCV and Drone, as the Probe never actually builds anything. When a build command is issued, it places a beacon to mark the point to open a warp rift, and the "construction time" is actually the time it takes to open the rift fully. Once it finishes, the building warps through the rift and appears pre-constructed from somewhere else.
  • Shock and Awe: They fight with small bolts of electricity.
  • Worker Unit: The Protoss one.


"My life for Aiur!"

The Protoss base unit, stalwart warriors armed with two psi blades extending from their wrists as an emination of the Zealot's psionic powers.

  • Badass: Dollar for dollar, these guys will usually win against marines and zerglings, not counting other forms of support.
  • Battle Cry: Noticeably has several, since most other Protoss units are more stoic about combat or are stealth experts (and therefore not into the business of being loud).
  • The Berserker: When All You Have Is A Laser Blade, everything becomes a target to charge at.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Two of them, in fact.
  • Boring Yet Practical: As with the Marine and Zergling, even in the late game a group of upgraded Zealots can make short work of an unprepared opponent.
  • Close Range Combatant: Their main weakness is their melee limitations: slicing up Marines isn't the hard part, GETTING to them is.
  • Dual Wielding: In the sequel their base damage is listed as 12, but that's the total output since the zealot makes two attacks of 6 each, however, the drawback of this is that their attacks are more penalized by armor. Explanation .
  • Flash Step: In StarCraft II they get "Charge" which lets them quickly charge in on enemies when they get close.
  • Large Ham: Always screams about honor and glory.
  • Laser Blade: Psionic blades, actually.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Fast normally, very fast with their speed upgrade, they do a good amount of damage, and they have enough HP to close in on enemies.
  • Ninja Run: With speed upgrades they start running like this: one blade hanging behind them and one arm folded sideways so that the blade is held close to them.
  • No Indoor Voice: Always zealously responding to commands at the top of their lungs...psi...whatevers.
  • Not Afraid to Die: A basic requirement to be a Zealot is to be fanatical (or just plain crazy) to charge unflinchingly into heavy fire.
  • Powered Armor: That incorporates a teleportation system when they're too badly hurt (in the first game, at least).
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The most enthusiastic about combat, in contrast to the more reserved Templar.
  • Screaming Warrior: A lot of their lines are battle cries or just angry yelling.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Vulnerable to good kiting if trying to chase down Marines, though less of a problem when they get speed upgrades.


"I have returned..."

A Protoss walker unit consisting of a robotic shell driven by the body of a wounded Protoss warrior contained within, they fire phase disruptors to attack.

  • Energy Ball: Their attack.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: How the Protoss see the unit, since they're piloted by badly wounded Protoss recovered from the front lines. They're Proud Warrior Race Guys, so to some of them being turned into a Dragoon is shameful compared to dying in battle with honour. According to the lore Dragoons are seen as outsiders in society for the same reasons.
  • Killed Off for Real: As of the sequel, in a sense. The facilities to create them were lost after the fall of Aiur, so whichever ones remain have been modified into Immortals. Their role as ranged units capable of attacking airborne enemies is now filled by the Dark Templar replacement, Stalkers. However, they return in Legacy of the Void.
  • Man in the Machine: All Dragoons are a wounded Protoss in a robotic shell.
  • Spider Tank: Four legged robots, yup.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Their backstory in the lore.

High Templar

"Khassar Detemplari..."

Protoss mystics that have foregone traditional combat training to hone their psionic abilities. They can manifest illusions and call down storms of psychic energy.

  • Anti-Air: Psionic Storm is useful for zapping large clusters of air units out of the sky.
  • Fusion Dance: Can merge with each other to form an Archon
  • Herd Hitting Attack: Psionic Storm.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: How their Archon Morph is seen in the lore.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In StarCraft II they inherit the Dark Archon's Feedback, which lets them drain the energy of an enemy unit to inflict damage to them equal to the energy drained. Given a lot of enemy spellcasters tend to have low HP and are sent out with high energy reserves, this tends to be very effective.
  • Mana Drain: Feedback drains an enemy's Energy and deals damage to them as well.
  • Master of Illusion: Hallucination, which lets them create copies of a unit as distractions. This power is given to Sentries in Starcraft II.
  • Non-Action Guy: Spells aside, they don't even have regular attacks or weapons.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Actually, you'll probably get fried by lightning before you ever get to see them.
  • Shock and Awe: Their famous Psionic Storm.
  • Squishy Wizard: With 40 HP and 40 shields and a slow movement speed, they are not going to last long. But with Psionic Storm they'll decimate anything they can see, and in the sequel their Feedback can quickly cripple enemy spellcasters.

Dark Templar

"Adun Toridas..."

Long ago, the Dark Templar rejected the Khala and so were branded traitors and outcasts, banished from Aiur. Reunited with their brethren in Brood War, they have learned to channel the energies of the Void to render themselves invisible.

  • Achilles' Heel: Vulnerable to True Sight like other stealth units.
  • Ascended Extra: They go from campaign only units in the original to regular units in Brood War.
  • Badass Boast: "You could no more evade my wrath than you could your own shadow."
  • Badass Cape: Their standard attire.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: While Zealots have dual-blades, the Dark Templar have one.
  • Close Range Combatant: No ranged abilities, just a Laser Blade and a skilled hand wielding it.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Merging with other Templars to form Archons is seen in-universe as a dangerous action, reserved only for the greatest of perils.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: They might have once been pariahs to the rest of the Protoss and have a major shadow theme, but they aren't bad people necessarily.
  • Diagonal Cut: Even heavily armored units are bisected by a single, deep slice.
  • Foil: Fast moving heavy-hitting attacker to contrast the High Templar's slow-moving heavy-hitting spellcaster.
  • Glass Cannon: Move at a respectable pace and do heavy damage, but very easy to kill due to their low HP and shields.
  • The Heretic: In the lore, but they're heroic, more friendlier and cooler-minded compared to the Khalai Protoss (especially Aldaris). By the time of Brood War they became an undeniable part of the Protoss military due to their ability to assassinate Cerebrates permanently.
  • I Am the Noun: In II, they say "I am the darkness" in one of their quotes.
  • Important Haircut: Sort of. Those long, hairlike appendages regular Protoss have at the top of their skulls serves as their psychic link to the Khala. The Dark Templars' are noticeably cut short in a kind of Samurai Ponytail.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: How they tend to act in the lore, where they're treated as shadowy assassins. Also carries into the game, since they're best used in small teams as base raiders and scouts, wreaking havoc on an unprepared opponent then retreating into the shadows before they can react.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Permanently invisible without using energy.
  • Laser Blade: They wield Warp Blades, similar to the Zealot's Psi Blades but formed from void energies.
  • Ninja Run: They do this just like the Zealots, though more fittingly since they are effectively ninja.
  • Power of the Void: Their source of energy and how they cloak themselves.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Too bad you can't see them before the Dark Templar carves you up.
  • Sinister Scythe: In StarCraft II, though it has no effect on gameplay, Dark Templar randomly spawn armed with their original wrist-mounted Warp blades, or these.
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet: In II, they wear Zerg carapace and mandibles oas armor, giving one variant a Predator look.
  • Stealth Expert: Though they stay cloaked even when it's highly obvious that a Dark Templar has infiltrated (unless revealed using True Sight).


"The merging is complete..."

The pinnacle of Protoss psionic power, formed by two High Templar sacrificing their bodies to manifest as an orb of pure energy. They can decimate enemies with bolts of energy.

  • Cast from Lifespan: Within the lore Archons usually burn themselves out shortly after being created, which is why it is a...
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The sacrifice is seen as one of the highest a Protoss can make, and Archons are greatly honored for their valor.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the sequel, any two Templar can merge to form a normal Archon. No story explanation has been given for how this is possible, as two Dark Templar merging used to create a Dark Archon, and one of each Templar merging tends to have explosive results.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Archons are really beefy, with hundreds of HP. Unfortunately, almost all of those are shields, so in both games they're highly vulnerable to EMPs.
  • Lightning Bruiser: They hit hard and have a lot of shields. They aren't very speedy, but are far from slow.
  • Power Floats: They technically hover over the ground rather than walk.
  • Pure Energy: They're an embodiment of it.
  • Shock and Awe: Their attack is a bolt of psionic lightning.
  • Splash Damage: They deal it with their normal attacks.

Dark Archon

"We are as one..."

An ancient secret long forbidden to the Dark Templar for the sheer danger of it, the Dark Archon is formed by the dark energy of two Dark Templar merging together. They can shroud enemies in a paralyzing maelstrom and drain their energy reserves, but the greatest expression of their great power is the ability to dominate enemy minds.

  • And I Must Scream: Stop Poking Me quotes include screams of agony and "Adun save me..." They're also consumed by a need to feed, but no Life Drain, unfortunately.
  • Awesome but Impractical: With Mind Control its possible to sieze an enemy worker, at which point you can build up that race's entire tech tree and construct their units. But given the time to do so and the difficulty in getting that worker...
  • Brainwashed: Mind Control. This means that if a Dark Archon manages to mind-control an enemy worker, he gets an additional army with extra supplies.
  • Cast from Lifespan: Same as the original Archon.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: In-Universe, the creation of a Dark Archon is this. In-game, using Mind Control makes the Archon lose its shields and leaves them very vulnerable.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Let's see, look at it itself.
  • Foil: Reversed from the two Templar types, the Dark Archon is a potent spellcaster but has no attack, while the standard Archon has only pure brute attack power and no spells.
  • Godzilla Threshold: In the lore, they were finally allowed to be born when Aldaris rebelled and lead a Protoss force headed by Archons against the Dark Templar. None of the involved parties were particularly joyous that their war had come to this, which is why by Stacraft II the Dark Archon's creation is outlawed again.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Their Feedback drains the energy of enemy units and deals damage equal to the energy lost. Against many units this is a One-Hit KO, since most spellcasters aren't very durable and are going to be sent out with lots of energy.
  • Mana Burn: Feedback, which causes energy to be converted into equivalent damage.
  • Power Floats: As with the original Archon.
  • Pure Energy: Ditto.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Red everything, including yes, the eyes.


A Protoss robot equipped with on-board manufacturing facilities used to construct bombs called Scarabs. They move slowly but can decimate enemies.

  • Animal Mecha: Unambiguously a giant slug.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Combined it with a Shuttle it becomes this, able to slip into enemy lines, launch its scarabs, then re-enter the Shuttle and escape before defenders arrive. Reaver Drops are used in professional games as a form of devastating harassment tactic.
  • Mighty Glacier: A couple of good scarab shots can cripple armies and destroy worker lines, but the Reaver is the slowest unit in the game. This is why Shuttles are so vital to getting proper use out of them.
  • Mobile Factory: They're armed with on-board facilities to manufacture scarabs in the field.
  • Mook Maker: Unlike the Carrier's, the scarabs can't be targeted by enemies.
  • Siege Engine: Attack from outside the range of conventional defenses and can hit without being seen by enemy units.
  • Splash Damage: Their scarabs deal damage across a large area.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The fate of anything they aim at, more likely than not.


"Teleport successful"

The Protoss aircraft and the backbone of their fleet, they launch anti-matter missiles at aerial foes and photon blasters at ground targes.

  • Awesome but Impractical: Their armaments makes them the best of the three base air units in battle, but they have much higher resource costs at 275/125 compared to 150/100 for the Wraith and 100/100 for the Mutalisk. As well, while the Mutalisk is an effective hit-and-run attacker and the Wraith's cloaking lets it be a base raider, the Scout has...nothing. All it has is its superior firepower, which isn't that superior. If you need an anti-air fighter, you're better off with the Corsair, much cheaper (150/100), much faster, it has Disruption Web, and it builds in half the time as a Scout.
  • Cool Starship: Sleek, fast, and well-armed.
  • Demoted to Extra: Seen in StarCraft II a few times as a campaign unit but is otherwise replaced by the Phoenix
  • Nonindicative Name: They're fast, well-armed and armored, and capable of beating a Wraith or Mutalisk in a 1-on-1 fight with ease and the Protoss only consider them scouts. In a gameplay sense, they are are also too expensive to be used as scouts. Observers are more cost effective and are cloaked to boot.
  • Space Fighter: As with the Wraith, they're used in space and on planetfall.
  • Space Plane: It's design aesthetic.


"It is a good day to die!"

Spacecraft designed by the Dark Templar, they move fast and launch neutral flares from their hull to rapidly attack enemies.

  • Cool Starship: One of the speediest units in the game with a powerful ability.
  • Fragile Speedster: Fastest ship in the Protoss military, but easier to destroy than the Scout. When compared to the Wraith or Mutalisk however, that doesn't mean much.
  • Splash Damage: They deal it to tear up stacked units.


The Protoss transport, a simple carrier vessel that has the distinction of being the fastest transport of the races with its speed upgrade.

In the sequel's first expansion, Heart of the Swarm, a flier called the Shuttle appears during one campaign mission. However, it's a huge, slow-moving, fairly beefy, different-looking ship, and is a mission objective to be destroyed rather than a typical techtree unit used to drop off ground units.

  • Boring Yet Practical: With their speed boost, in the original game they were the fastest of the three transports. But much like the Terran Dropship, transportation is all it did.
  • Drop Ship: Their role as unit transport.
  • Non-Action Guy: No attack and easily killed by air turrets. Find a safe place for the drop then get it out.


A small flying drone armed with a cloaking field, it acts as a spy and escort, detecting invisible and burrowed units and watching points of interest.

  • Boring but Practical: They don't do anything except act as detectors, but their low cost, fast build time and decent movement rate makes them quick and simple to deploy. Their cloaking ability meanwhile makes them the ideal scout, able to slip into an opponent's base and see what they're doing without being caught, and they can be sent out in numbers to watch points of interest for opposing armies on the move or expansions under construction.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Same as the Dark Templar.
  • Non-Action Guy: If found they die very easily.
  • Spy Bot: Their role.
  • Spy Satellite: They're also used as this in the lore.
  • True Sight: The Protoss detector for burrowed and cloaked units.


"Carrier has arrived."

The Protoss flagship. Although they aren't armed with weapons of their own, they house swarms of small robotic drones called Interceptors that can be launched to fight for them.

  • A.I. Breaker: Its drones are targetable and can be killed, so it's likely that an army they attack will spend time spinning in place to lock on to the swarm of drones rather than focusing their fire on the Carrier itself, unless the player gives the specific command. This also has the effect of making them quite effective in UMS-type maps where the human players fight alongside computer-controlled forces that don't know any better.
  • Attack Drone: The dozens of Interceptors it launches do the real damage.
  • The Battlestar: The lore indicates that they are also armed with Wave Motion Guns used for purifying Zerg-infested planets. You don't ever have one of these kinds.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: On the one hand, having a ship that can fire off drones to deal with enemies is pretty cool. On the other hand, they are high up on the tech tree, very expensive, don't deal super-high damage given that their drones deal barely any damage against anything with armor, and pretty much any mobile anti-air unit in sufficient quantities can counter them for less cost. They don't even get Awesome but Impractical because they don't do enough to qualify as "Awesome".
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Interceptors will wear down enemies bit by bit, meaning it can take a while to finally take down an enemy capital ship.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: An Invoked Trope for Word of God. Even though they're useless competitively, and Blizzard has acknowledged this, they can't seem to bring themselves to give it the axe for the sequel. They were initially cut, then came back, were going to be cut in Heart of the Swarm, but were brought back again. Both times the reason sited was emotional attachment to the original unit.
  • Magikarp Power: An unconventional example for the entire army. A single Carrier is much less dangerous than a single Battlecruiser since their interceptors don't have great DPS and the Carrier is easily focused down. With a fleet of Carriers however, their DPS reaches very high levels, and if the opponent tries to focus down a Carrier it can retreat out of and let its allies fight, then stop and relaunch its interceptors from safety. In short, Carriers get exponentially more dangerous the more of them you have.
  • Mighty Glacier: They move very slowly but take a lot of punishment and deal a lot of damage.
  • Mobile Factory: Constructs interceptors while in flight.
  • Mook Maker: Interceptors actually count as units that can be targeted and shot down, though their speed makes it hard to focus them down one by one.


"Warp fields stabilized."
Support vessels piloted by members of the Judicator Caste, they act as anchors in reality for time-space rifts that render nearby allies invisible and warp in reinforcements from a distance.

  • Awesome but Impractical: As with the Ghost higher up the page, they're very powerful fully upgraded but lie at the top of the tech tree and require a large investment of time and resources to deploy. Their stealth ability also renders other powerful units invulnerable except for themselves, meaning that if there's any arbiters around, they get focus-fired.
    • In Protoss vs Terran match up, the Arbiter is the staple unit when dealing with Terran Mech army death ball at the late game. Stasis Field is useful to cut Terran's army in half when you engaging Terran's army head on. And the Recall is very useful to attack Terran's expansion and force Terran player to stretch their defenses. The only gripe is you need to have enough APM and micro to utilize their skill effectively. At that point Arbiter will become Difficult but Awesome
  • Energy Ball: Their attack, similar to the Dragoon. In fact, it's te exact same gun as dragoons, but it's just got a different housing.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Their pilots, as members of the Judicator Caste, outrank you (the Executor). One of their Stop Poking Me quotes lampshades this, as they accuse you of procrastinating and threaten to take control if you don't get moving.
    • According to Word of God, when Aiur fell the Judicator Caste was wiped out and the Arbiters abandoned. They're still around in multiple missions in Brood War.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Cloaks nearby units without using any energy, though this doesn't affect other arbiters because it is overpowered to give the protoss an entirely invisible army.
  • Non-Action Guy: Though they have an attack they are definitely not fit for fighting.