Characters: Starcraft Units
The units of StarCraft
and Brood War
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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 (though damages the enemy weakly). 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.
- 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.
- 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.
"Jacked up and good to go!"
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.
- BFG: Their main weapon the Gauss Impaler rifle, which looks big even with their huge armor.
- 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.
- 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 boosts their HP by 10 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.)
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Psycho for Hire: 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 Predator 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 2 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
- 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.
- Nanomachines: The official explanation for how their abilities work.
- Power Armor
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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: Drains the Energy of everything in a large radius. Protoss armies, beware.
- The Lockdown ability in the first game made mechanical units completely helpless.
- 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
- 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.
- Mana Burn: EMP does this to Energy, effectively stopping special units from using their abilities.
- Psychic Powers: Ghost candidates are born with them and they're honed to a deadly edge during training.
- 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
- Support Party Member: They're elites, but they're not killing very much on their own in direct combat.
- Telepathic Spacemen
- You Nuke 'Em: Ghosts are not known for their subtlety in dealing with larger problems.
"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
- Cool Bike
- 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
- 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.
"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.
- 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.
- 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: Arguably 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.
- 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
Combat walkers, they're all-around solid units specializing as anti-air support.
- Chicken Walker
- Expy: Of the ED-209.
- Fun with Acronyms: Likes to list off several as Stop Poking Me quotes.
- Gatling Good
- Jack of All Stats: All-around decent HP, cost and damage output.
- Master of None: However, it's outclassed by the Siege Tank and Marine for ground units (Siege Tanks have longer range and better damage, Marines have better DPS and have Medics), and Wraiths outclass it in air combat (cloaking and mobility as an air unit). This is why Brood War gave their anti-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 the Terrans didn't already have a unit for.
- 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. At that point all that stops them from being the go-to unit for the rest of the campaign is their slow movement speed and 3 supply cost.
"Wraith awaiting launch orders."
The standard Terran starfighter, armed with missiles and lasers and protected by a personal cloaking field.
- Cool Starship
- 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
- Invisibility Cloak
- Space Fighter
A Terran support vessel equipped with technology to study the Zerg and Protoss and weaponry to deal with them.
"Can I take your order?"
Flying personal carriers used to ferry troops around.
A Terran starfighter introduced into the sector by the UED, they fire clusters of missiles are airborne enemies to decimate opposing fleets.
- 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/Lightning Bruiser: 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: The only time Valkyries show up in the sequel is one level of Heart of the Swarm as an enemy-only unit, and their presence isn't commented on like any of the other units returning from the first game.
- Splash Damage
- 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.
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
- Frickin' Laser Beams
- Gratuitous Russian: Averted, but the pilot still has a definite Russian accent.
- 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.
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.
- This doesn't include the mutations, which are carried on their evolved strains, if you make some choices, you can get a zergling that has 60 points of life and a higher damage output, that's right, they can have more life than a fully upgraded marine.
- 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 atn 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.
- Wings Do Nothing: For obvious reasons they don't actually let the Zergling fly. An Averted Trope in Heart of the Swarm, the wings have been gifted to the Raptor, who leap up cliffs and jump at enemy units.
- 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.
- 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.
- Zerg Rush: The Trope Namer.
The Zerg ranged fighter, tensing its muscles to snap out needle spines from its shoulder plates as fast as any bullet.
- Ballistic Bone
- Jack of All Stats: In the original game, 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Weaksauce Weakness:
- Armor upgrades. Armor is straight subtractive in this game, so a target with just 1 armor point takes, instead of 9 + 3 + 1 damage, 8 + 2 + 0.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Poison Is Corrosive: Plague
- 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.
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
- 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 and got their Divergent Character Evolution for the campaign as described above.
- Unusually, they lost a level in badass in the campaign as they do less damage than in melee games, though they do get a few nifty abilities such as burrow charge and the ability to gain health when attacking, along with the poison gas/resurrection ability.
"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
- 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 invest it, which costs time and resources.
- Body Horror
- 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.
- 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.
- Taking You with Me
- 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
- 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 Over Specialization: Why they aren't in the sequel, once the enemy air units are dealt with, these 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. As well as reveal cloaked units nearby.
- Support Party Member: See above.
The Protoss gatherer, they collect resources and can place warp beacons to call in structures.
- Frickin' Laser Beams
- Non-Action Guy
- Ridiculously Fast Construction: Averted compared to the SCV. The Probe never actually builds anything, it places a beacon to mark the point to open a warp rift. The "construction time" for buildings is actually the time it takes to open the rift fully, and once opened the building warps in fully constructed from somewhere else.
- Worker Unit
"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.
- The Berserker
- Blade Below the Shoulder
- 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.
- 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 honour.
- Laser Blade
- 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.
- 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.
"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
- 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.
- Man in the Machine
- Spider Mecha
- We Can Rebuild Him
Protoss mystics that have foregone traditional combat training to hone their psionic abilities. They can manifest illusions and call down storms of psychic energy.
- 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, which makes them very good at killing Hybrid Destroyers.
- Master of Illusion: Hallucination, which lets them create copies of a unit as distractions.
- Glass Cannon: 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.
- However, like Reaver drops, using a High Templar in tandem with a Shuttle can work wonders in massacring light units, such as front line units (Terran infantry deathballs for one) and worker lines.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning
- Shock and Awe: Their famous Psionic Storm.
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.
- Ascended Extra: They go from campaign only units in the original to regular units in Brood War.
- Badass Cape
- Blade Below the Shoulder
- Dark Is Not Evil
- 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 Topknot.
- 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.
- Invisibility Cloak: Permanently invisible without using energy.
- Laser Blade
- Power of the Void
- Red Eyes, Take Warning
- 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.
"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.
"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.
- 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 a spell makes the Archon lose its shields.
- 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.
- Still it seems that with the renew conflict and the prophecy discovered by Zeratul, the Dark Templar either learned from the Khalai how to create normal Archons or the simply allowed the creation of new Dark Archons but for gameplay reasons they appear as normal Archons.
- 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.
- Power Floats
- Pure Energy
- 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.
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
- 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
- Space Plane
"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.
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
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
- Spy Bot
- True Sight
"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 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".
- 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.
- Mighty Glacier
- Mobile Factory
- Mook Maker
"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.
- Energy Ball
- 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 effect other arbiters because it is overpowered to give the protoss a entirely invisible army.
- Non-Action Guy