When the Confederacy destroyed Korhal, Arcturus Mengsk and the few survivors of the planet rallied other Confederate dissidents to their cause and formed the Sons of Korhal, a group dedicated to the destruction of the Confederacy. For years Arcturus waged guerrilla warfare on the Confederates, but slowly found powerful allies and built up his forces. The turning point was the defection of Mar Sara's colonists led by Marshal Jim Raynor. This gave Mengsk the numbers to aid other planets in open revolt, and also gave him access to Confederate technology he would eventually use to destroy Tarsonis — the psi emitter, which could lure Zerg to their signals from across the galaxy. Arcturus used the emitters to spark a Zerg invasion of Tarsonis, breaking the Confederacy's power with the loss of their core world.
Arcturus resettled Korhal and reorganized the Sons of Korhal into the Terran Dominion, using fear of the Zerg and Protoss to call for the Terrans to rally to his banner. Knowledge of Arcturus's hand in the Zerg invasion of Tarsonis was limited to a handful of his closest allies, thus most of the Terran planets fell for it and they, along with many Confederate worlds and assets, joined the Dominion. The Dominion was temporarily deposed by the United Earth Directorate during the Brood War, but with the aid of Kerrigan, Arcturus overthrew their control of Korhal and the Dominion took back control of its colonies. After the Brood War, when Kerrigan and the Zerg went quiet, Arcturus used the time to consolidate his power and continue to build his Dominion to grander heights. His son, Valerian, also took public stage as the Crown Prince and Arcturus's heir.
- Big Bad Ensemble: First in Episode V of Brood War, when they and the Zerg act as the antagonists of the UED's campaign, then again with Kerrigan to Raynor in Wings of Liberty. Come Heart of the Swarm they're the primarily villains, alongside Amon's forces.
- Blue Is Heroic: With Valerian taking control of them in Legacy of the Void, the Dominion is represented in-game by shades of blue. In a case of Gameplay and Story Integration, most of the Dominion forces seen in the game are led by Raynor, and Raynor's Raiders also used blue. In cutscenes however, their color is still red. By Nova Covert Ops, they officially changed to blue.
- Butt-Monkey: The series as a whole basically has "How many catastrophic losses can the Dominion have without collapsing?" as a core concept. By the end of Legacy of the Void, their capital world of Korhal has been invaded and/or attacked half a dozen times, while on their front the Dominion sucks at their supposed job of defending their colonists from aliens and terrorists. The Defenders of Man take advantage on this trope in Covert Ops, claiming that the constant Zerg attacks on Dominion colonies are proof the Dominion is too weak to stop them.
- Iron Butt Monkey: Despite the above, the Dominion is notable for having survived all games so far and being still around by the end of Legacy of the Void, something neither the Terran Confederacy nor the UED Fleet can boast. They might have it rough, but they always get back on their feet.
- Color-Coded Armies: The Dominion soldiers wear red, though in a few missions in the original game and Brood War they were blue or white due to technological restraints. Both are justified however, as those are the respective colors of the Mar-Sara Militia and Alpha Squadron, which were compressed into the Dominion.
- HeelFace Turn: After Arcturus Mengsk's death and Valerian taking his place as Emperor at the end of Heart of the Swarm. They've taken in Raynor's Raiders and are now the Protoss's allies.
- Hegemonic Empire: The Dominion is just as bad as the Confederacy it overthrew, if not worse. However, Arcturus knows how to use the media and his natural charisma to mask the Dominion's and his own true nature. In the fall of the Confederacy, most of the Terran colonies in the sector joined the Dominion because someone has to protect them from the Protoss and Zerg, and the Dominion had the power and will to do so, and Arcturus was now famous as a rebel crusader who saved the planets the Confederacy abandoned. Come the time of Starcraft II, however, the Dominion's status has decayed into straight The Empire: the Dominion utilizes oppression and violence to keep its dissidents in-line and is primarily interested in securing and expanding Arcturus's own control of the sector than actually defending anyone from Zerg or Protoss.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Turns out, the Dominion ends up just as bad as the Confederacy.
- La Résistance: The Dominion started as the Sons of Korhal, a group that fought to overthrow the Confederacy.
- The Republic: Arcturus cultivates the public image of the Dominion as this, a united front of humanity that will guard its people on all worlds and keep them safe from any who would threaten them. Also fits the trope flavor of being formed out of the resistance. However, the truth is they're a Hegemonic Empire as described above. With Valerian Mengsk in power, they may actually qualify now, since he's trying to weed out Dominion corruption and actually wants to live up to that public image Arcturus faked.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: Starcraft II sees black worked into their sigils and units as a secondary color to the traditional red, resulting in this trope. Averted after Heart of the Swarm's ending, where the Dominion pulls a HeelFace Turn.
- Red Is Heroic: When the player controls them as the protagonist faction in Episode I, the player's forces change color from blue for the Mar Sara Militia, to red for the Sons of Korhal. In the final mission when Arcturus has completed his FaceHeel Turn, the player switches back to blue with the red forces as enemies. Come Legacy of the Void and with the Dominion doing a HeelFace Turn, this trope is still averted, as the Dominion never uses red in the missions they appear in, using blue or light blue instead, just like Raynor's Raiders so as to distinguish them from Moebius Corps, which use red. Played straight in cinematics, where the Dominion soldiers are all red.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Arcturus's goal in rebelling against the Confederacy was personal power and vengeance, not out of any sense to do good by overthrowing an oppressive and corrupt government, and the tactics he used to do it were no better than the Confederacy's.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Sons of Korhal were painted as upstart terrorists even as they attempted to help colonies the Confederacy had turned their back on.
Mengsk's father was murdered by the Confederacy, and his entire planet destroyed, for being a problem. Mengsk's response was to start a resistence faction called the Sons of Korhal, and enlist the aid of Jim Raynor, Sarah Kerrigan, and later Edmund Duke. Though he initially comes off as a benevolent freedom fighter, as the Terran campaign goes, he commits steadily more unforgivable crimes for the legitimately good purpose of overthrowing the Confederacy, until he finally succeeds, sacrifices Kerrigan, alienates Raynor, and crowns himself Emperor. His true colors revealed, he becomes everything the Confederacy was and worse. When the UED invades, he's the first person on their hitlist, and much to Raynor's chagrin he has to save Mengsk's life to help Kerrigan take out the UED, which goes sour for both of them when she backstabs them both. Mengsk ultimately launches a joint Dominion-UED-Protoss attack on Kerrigan's forces that she routs, leaving him with nothing.
By the time of Starcraft II, Mengsk's empire is back on its feet, with only Raynor opposing it to any significant degree. Mengsk can't simply have Raynor assassinated because he's desperately afraid of Raynor becoming a martyr, so he uses the media to marginalize Raynor's efforts and paint him as a fanatic terrorist - which is totally different from how the Confederacy treated him.
Provides examples of:
- Aerith and Bob: One of these does not belong: James, Sarah, Arcturus, Edmund. Though for some people, his might be a case of Awesome Mc Coolname.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: Not right away, but two years after the fall of Amon, the anniversary of his death is celebrated in the Dominion.
- Animal Motifs: The sequel ties him with the wolf — cunning, savage and powerful, while also tying into his image as a charismatic media darling to mask his true nature. Statues of wolves and Arcturus flanked by wolves are all around Korhal, and images of wolf heads can be found from the Dominion crest outside his palace to an emblem set into the floor of his office.
- Arch-Enemy: To Raynor and Kerrigan.
- Archnemesis Dad: To his son, Crown Prince Valerian, after the Flashpoint conflict. However, he's declared his son expendable in his hunt for Kerrigan, so at that point, whichever side he's on is irrelevant.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning/Do Not Adjust Your Set: While announcing the formation of the Terran Dominion and crowning himself as the Emperor Arcturus I.
- Beard of Evil: Compared to Raynor's short-cropped beard around the mouth, Arcturus has a large and bushy beard going up the bottom of his face.
- Big Brother Is Watching: As with the Confederacy, the Dominion has spies and informants everywhere, and many on their payroll are closely observed — the closer to secrets they are, the tighter the surveillance.
- Big Bad: After toppling the Confederacy, he steps into the role at the very end of Episode I. He returns to the position for Episode V of Brood War, then becomes the Final Boss for Episode VI, and is the primary antagonist for Heart of the Swarm.
- Big Bad Ensemble: With Kerrigan for Wings of Liberty. Raynor's been rebelling against the Dominion for years, and he still continues his revolution against Mengsk in the midst of the Zerg invasion.
- Big Bad Wannabe: On the grander scale of things; He is still a major threat, but despite his statement he would either rule or burn the sector to ashes, he is constantly overshadowed by much bigger and more dangerous villains like the Overmind, the UED, Kerrigan or Amon; even in Heart of the Swarm, where he technically is the Big Bad, Kerrigan is the one who drives the plot and he merely comes out as an obstacle to deal with before facing Amon.
- Bold Inflation: You can hear it in every other word he says.
- Broken Pedestal: To Raynor after seeing how far Mengsk would go to overthrow the confederacy. Even Valerian felt the same way towards his father afterwards.
- The Charmer: Arcturus is extremely charismatic and a very gifted orator. He can even persuade people who are aware of his atrocities into aligning themselves with him.
- The Chessmaster: He manipulates Raynor, Kerrigan, Duke, and the Zerg in order to bring down the Confederacy and establish himself as the Dominion Emperor, and does so by playing to their emotional weaknesses so they work for him until they realize what he really is. The novels complete this by having him play chess against Michael Liberty, and Heart of the Swarm offers this line when Mengsk is shooting at the Hyperion and Matt tries to tell his ships that the Crown Prince is with them.Valerian: My father will sacrifice any piece on the chess board to take the Queen.
- Cosmic Plaything / Laser-Guided Karma: Any involvement he has after the original game's campaign is this. He overthrows the Confederacy just for the UED to knock him off his throne; he allies with the two people that hate him the most to take back his homeworld just for Kerrigan to backstab him, and fails an attempt at revenge. Wing of Liberty has him take a gamble with letting Raynor live to deal with Kerrigan, and Raynor proves to be an even bigger thorn in his side than before. Also, there is letting Kerrigan live, allowing her to get back to the Swarm and everything he tries to stop her fails. She then marches right onto his doorstep before finally killing him. To add insult to injury, if Arcturus had allowed Warfield access to the xel'naga artifact on Char, Warfield might have been able to stop Kerrigan before she became an even greater threat to him.
- In the epilogue of Legacy of the Void, his death anniversary was celebrated as a holiday.
- Consummate Liar: He can even fool Kerrigan, a telepath.
- Cruel Mercy: After his defeat at the end of Brood Wars, it was this from Kerrigan which ensured that he continued to live (and rule as Emperor). The moment Kerrigan decided to go on the warpath against him, he didn't last very long.
- Death by Irony: Kerrigan unleashed the Zerg on Korhal to get to him, just like how Mengsk defeated the Confederacy and abandoned Kerrigan. Not to mention that Mengsk is killed by the same person who killed his father.
- Despotism Justifies the Means: See the above quote. When Zerg attacked Korhal, he even resorts to using nuclear weapons inside his own city.
- Dirty Coward: By Heart Of The Swarm, hes stooped to capturing Raynor and metaphorically dangling him in front of Kerrigan in an attempt to ward her off. It does not help that he taunts and provokes her throughout all this. When Kerrigan brings the Swarm to Korhal, he tries to recall the rest of the military to save his own hide, and spends the entirety of the invasion tucked away in his palace while his troops die in droves, even nuking his own cities just to ward her off.
- Didn't Think This Through: His methods of dealing with Kerrigan in Heart of the Swarm. First he publically announces the execution of Raynor, pissing off an emotionally volatile psychic who, even if weakened, can still control the Zerg and is very powerful herself, and Mengsk knows this (not to mention creating a "martyr" out of Raynor, which he had been avoiding for so long previously). Then he decides to let Kerrigan know that Raynor is actually alive in order to blackmailing her to not invade Korhal — it doesn't seem to cross his mind that Kerrigan could just rescue Raynor and then invade Korhal, which is exactly what she does.
- The Emperor: Emperor Arcturus I Mengsk of the Terran Dominion, absolute monarch and oppressor of virtually all humans in the Koprulu Sector, with the exception of the Kel-Morian Combine (who might be worse) and the Umojans.
- Enemy Mine: Worked with Raynor, who made it clear he still wanted to kill him, and Kerrigan during the Brood War against the UED, and later worked with the UED and Protoss against Kerrigan. Neither end well.
- Ermine Cape Effect: Averted. Mengsk does wear some fairly ornate outfits, but they are far more reminiscent of military uniforms (with a lot of Badass Longcoat/Cape thrown in). Notably, his outfits are quite a bit less ostentatious than his son's, who is objectively a much better person (if Wings of Liberty is any indication).
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Per Word of God, one of the reasons he was so obsessed with killing the Queen of Blades was because he could not comprehend the idea of someone not wanting revenge after everything he had done to her. Maybe a bit less Evil Cannot Comprehend Good and more Mortals Cannot Comprehend Physical Gods, but the implication that he felt the same way about Raynor makes it count.
- Evil Overlord: As the Emperor of the Dominion, he cultivates the image of himself as a benevolent dictator who rules humanity because he is best to protect the people from threats, but in reality he's just as cruel, oppressive and sinister as the Confederacy he overthrew, and outside the core worlds people see him as the tyrant he really is.
- Evil Plan: The original one was to become the above trope. His dealings with Tychus Finlay and Moebius Foundation without Valerian's knowledge
- Evil Sounds Deep: He speaks in a deep, gravelly voice.
- Evil vs. Evil: With Kerrigan in Wings of Liberty
- Fantastic Racism: Very. Constantly describes the zerg and the protoss as sinister alien threats that terrans need his protection from, even while working alongside them in Co-Op mode. Granted, both have indiscriminately massacred entire Terran planets before his rise to power, but he does far more to antagonize the Protoss under his rule than they do to them. In Co-Op mode, this even extends to Terrans; in his eyes, any Terran not part of the Dominion is part of its undoing.
- FaceHeel Turn: He was the leader of the rebels and your benevolent commander in the original Terran campaign. But then he went too far and Raynor turned on him when it was clear Arcturus was just overthrowing the Confederacy so he could put himself in the middle of the power vacuum.
- Fallen Hero: He was implied to be a genuinely good man before his lust for power and revenge consumed what little decency he had. In I, Mengsk, he is shown to have psychotic tendencies while he was in high school. However, he may never have sought power and rebellion if not for his family's assassination, instead preferring to be a humble prospector.
- Faux Affably Evil:
- He's charismatic, friendly, cultured, and well-spoken. But it is just an act to hide the power-hungry murderous tyrant that lurks beneath him. When he talks to Raynor and the Magistrate at the end of Episode I, he starts by happily congratulating them on their victory; when it becomes clear they're not having any of it, he drops the pleasantries and becomes more hostile and sneering. It's also at this time he delivers the line "I will rule this sector, or see it burnt to ashes around me," shattering any lingering illusions that his "rebellion" wasn't just an excuse to take power for himself.
- A direct quote from Michael Liberty: "Arcturus Mengsk. There's a name that is synonymous with terror, betrayal and violence. A living example of the ends justifying the means. The assassin of the Confederacy of Man. The hero of the blasted world of Korhal IV. King of the universe. A savage barbarian who never let anything or anyone get in his way. And yet, he is charming, erudite and intelligent. When you're in his presence you feel that he's really listening to you, that your opinions matter, that you're someone important if you agree with him. It's amazing. I have often wondered if men like Mengsk don't carry around their own reality-warping bubbles, and all who fall in are suddenly transported to another dimension where the hellish things he says and does suddenly make sense. At least, that's the effect he always had on me."
- From Nobody to Nightmare: The assassination of his family, as well as the nuking of Korhal, turned Arcturus from a man with rather humble aspirations (he wanted to become a prospector) into the number one threat to the Confederacy, and eventually the man to cause their fall and create their successor state, The Dominion.
- General Failure: Ends up looking like one in the games. All of Mengsk's victories are due to Raynor, Kerrigan, and/or the Player Character. On his own Mengsk repeatedly proves an ineffective field commander that gets his ass handed to him by Raynor, the Zerg, the Protoss, and the UED. The novels, especially I, Mengsk, go a bit more in-depth and reveal he actually does have good tactics and strategy. It just comes off as an Informed Attribute in the games.
- Fully degenerates into this in Heart. His purging of Valerian's half of the Dominion military weakened his own side for the confrontation against the Swarm, and his hoarding of the xel'naga artifact meant that Warfield didn't have a chance to use it on Char, which might have stopped Kerrigan early and for good.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: A villainous example, but he's actually pretty good at this, particularly when salvaging military defeats. In the final mission of Brood War, he pops up with a fresh army after the rest of the Dominion military had been essentially whacked to nothing, explaining that he had "called in a few favors, made a few concessions...You'd be surprised how many special interest groups in this sector want to see you dead."
- Hero with Bad Publicity: During his days as a rebel he was pretty heroic, saving colonies left for dead by the Confederacy, but they painted him as an insane terrorist to try and keep people from realizing this. That said, it's easy to play the hero when you have to in order to get anywhere. As soon as Mengsk has the power to rule in his own right, he becomes this trope's exact opposite.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: In Starcraft, his abandonment of Kerrigan gave rise to his greatest nemesis ever. In Heart, his purging of Valerian's half of the Dominion military weakened his own side for the confrontation against the Swarm, and his hoarding of the xel'naga artifact meant that Warfield didn't have a chance to use it on Char, which might have stopped Kerrigan early and for good.
- Humans Are Bastards: Mengsk is an ordinary human, yet he is the only character in the original game that could be considered completely evil (Kerrigan became the fearsome "Queen of Blades" due to her infestation; therefore, her moral agency was compromised). He lures hordes of Zerg into attacking the Confederate capital world of Tarsonis, the most populous planet in the Koprulu sector, to overthrow at most a few hundred people. In doing so, Mengsk knowingly allowed two billion innocent civilians to die — a statistic that doesn't seem to faze him in the slightest. Shortly thereafter, it becomes clear that his motives were not to liberate the Terran worlds from the Confederacy, but to rule them himself. After establishing the Terran Dominion and proclaiming himself Emperor, Mengsk presides over a reign of terror where arbitrary killings and slave labor are the norm. An absolute monster in every sense of the term.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: By Kerrigan at the end of Heart of the Swarm, though not fatally.
- It's All About Me: This quote of his is just one example of his titanic ego.I will rule this sector or see it burnt to ashes around me.
- It's Personal: He never forgave the Confederacy for killing his family and nuking Korhal, and it shows: not only does he allow the Capital World of Tarsonis to be devoured by the Swarm, he also orders the last surviving heirs of the Confederate Old Families (who, keep in mind, are teens) be executed, simply out of hatred for their parents.
- Just the First Citizen: Subverted. He's always referred to as 'Emperor' after the foundation of the Dominion, but he never wears a crown or an ermine cape (see above), and, of course, 'Empire' is not in the Dominion's name. He also doesn't seem to stand much on ceremony in the interviews he gives to the media, nor does he seem to demand much supplication (the reporters address him more or less as equals). All of which is almost certainly carefully orchestrated to mask Mengsk's ludicrously dictatorial rule, and revealing a preference for a cult of personality over forcing people to constantly submit to his power (especially if doing so would endanger his rule and/or popularity).
- Manipulative Bastard: In the novel I, Mengsk, Arcturus gives the opinion that normal people are naturally confused, disoriented and disorganized without authority to show them the way. He makes himself that authority and points them the way he wants.
- Meet the New Boss: A classic example.
- Motive Decay: His original motive for overthrowing the Terran Confederacy was because they killed his father. However, as the above quote demonstrates, his hatred consumed him and later on, all he wanted was power, and he became just as bad, if not worse than the government he overthrew. He moves to do things such as unleashing the zerg on Tarsonis and abandoning Kerrigan, and later, ordering an attack which had the greatest chance of killing his own son.
- Never My Fault: Kerrigan and Raynor both call him out and point that he's indirectly responsible for all of Kerrigan's atrocities, but for the most part, all he does is simply blame Kerrigan for them.
- Non-Action Big Bad: He is not a fighter, being an older man with no combat skills. However, he did at one time serve as a soldier, so he's not inept.
- One Last Smoke: When Kerrigan comes for him in Heart of the Swarm, he takes an ornate lighter and cigar out of an equally ornate box. Subverted however, as the lighter is secretly the trigger for a weapon.
- Oh, Crap!: Take a look at his reaction before his head lights up and explodes thanks to Kerrigan. That is pure, undiluted fear.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: In any other setting, Mengsk would be serviceable in the Big Bad role. But he's constantly outshined by threats such as the Overmind and Kerrigan. And then there's Amon.
- The Purge: At the beginning of Heart, he orders his half of the military to crush Valerian's half, which Valerian had brought to Char. However, Warfield and his men on Char was allowed to return to the fold.
- Reign of Terror: Once he replaced the Confederacy with the Dominion, he made short work of any possible dissenters that might be loyal to the old flag. Kerrigan becoming the Queen of Blades also got him on edge about Ghosts, and a novelization has his son Valerian recount that almost half of all Ghosts in service were rounded up and executed.
- Revenge: His main motivation to overthrow the Confederacy.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Totally subverted, as his rule became as bad as, if not worse than the regime he replaced.
- Save the Villain: Because of the Enemy Mine situation, Jim Raynor grudgingly saved him from execution by the UED forces after they had conquered his capital Augustgrad.
- Smug Snake: Has become this by the end of Heart. By having the xel'naga artifact with him, he thought that he could survive the zerg invasion. He evidently forgot that many terrans, including one James Raynor, also have scores to settle with him.
- The Sociopath: Reviewing his key personality traits is like reading through a sociopath diagnostic checklist: superficial charm, a grandiose sense of self, pathological lying, a penchant for manipulating others to achieve his own ends, an absolutely astonishing lack of empathy or remorse for any of his actions, and an insatiable lust for power and dominance that drives his every move. He has no qualms whatsoever about sacrificing those closest to him if it suits his purposes.
- The Strategist: He's known in-universe as a shrewd and skilled tactician. He knows his assets, he knows his enemies, and he knows how to best use the former against the latter.
- Stuff Blowing Up: How Kerrigan kills him. After she already had him pinned with two of her barbed tendrils.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Kerrigan kills him by stabbing him through his shoulders with her Razor Wings, pinning him to a wall in the process, and then turns him into a psychic bomb that completely destroys his throne room.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: The end of the Terran campaign is his charismatic speech to the people of the newly formed Dominion and to the old Confederate colonists, encouraging unity and strength before the Zerg and Protoss that will otherwise consume the Terran race. Tellingly, a good part of his speech emphasizes the people take orders from and be loyal to a single throne, upon which he will sit to watch over and protect them, in a manner that's almost indoctrination.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Abandoning Kerrigan to the Zerg inadvertently created one of the most dangerous creatures the galaxy has ever known, and she nearly eradicated the sector and killed everyone who opposed her, including Mengsk himself.
- The Usual Adversaries: According to Raynor, the Dominion under his rule.Jim: Mengsk! It's always Mengsk! The end of the universe is coming and I should have known he'd be behind it!
- Villainous Breakdown:
- He experiences a mild one when confronted by the press after Raynor broadcasted his recordings to the Dominion, snapping at the reporters for questioning him and storming out of the press interview.
- He has a more gradual one over the course of Heart of the Swarm, resorting to increasingly drastic measures to try and kill Kerrigan, and eventually starts blowing up his bases with his men still inside to try and stop her. His self-control is pretty much gone by the time the Zerg are putting down hatcheries on his palace doorstep.
- Villain Decay: The original game's opening Terran campaign sets Mengsk up to be a Grade-A Magnificent Bastard who effortlessly manipulates the heroes into overthrowing the Confederacy before betraying them and establishing his own dictatorship. From there on, however, he spends the rest of the series as a Cosmic Plaything, getting Out-Gambitted and overshadowed by the story's bigger threats.
- Villains Never Lie: Mengsk tells Kerrigan, after she transformed into the Primal Queen of Blades, that Raynor sacrificed everything to restore humanity, yet she threw it away. He later adds that Raynor would be disgusted by her for it. Unfortunately, Mengsk was right in a way that he reemphasized what Raynor said in the beginning about not wanting to see Kerrigan throw away his sacrifices just for revenge. In a manner of speaking, Mengsk was also right about Raynor's reaction to her becoming a monster again.
- Villain with Good Publicity: He's the ruler of the Terran Dominion, got most of the Dominion eating out of his hand, and branded genuine good guy Jim Raynor a terrorist and a real and present threat to terran society, with even managing to maintain his hold over the Dominion by pretending to save them from the Zerg onslaught which destroyed Tarsonis, as well as violently suppressing or slandering anybody who would challenge his rule. Most people like him, however, and are loyal to the Dominion, and he's widely considered a media darling and doesn't shy away from interviews with the press. And then Raynor goes and blows Mengsk's real motivation of self-aggrandizement and ever more power, resulting in a mild villainous breakdown.
- We Have Reserves: Mengsk considers anything and everything expendable as long as it furthers his goals. This includes his own son, the Crown Prince, if destroying the ship he's on will take out Kerrigan in the process (though fortunately he does not succeed).
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Especially in the novels. At the very least, Mengsk started off this way, if the novels and the backstory in the manual are to be believed. Mengsk himself portrays himself as this after he crosses over into outright villainy and it's largely left up to the player's interpretation whether he's purely in it for his own personal gain or if he really believes he's doing the right thing. More and more, it seems he's slipping further into selfishness as time passes.
- Wicked Cultured: The man loves his liquor, his classical music, his cigars, and plays a mean game of chess, even during his days as a terrorist rebel. His former command ship, a massive Battlecruiser named Hyperion, differs greatly from normal design standards to accommodate his tastes. To name one such variation, it has wider-than-normal hallways lined with carpets and paintings and lit by wall sconces. Raynor thinks it seems more like a fancy mansion than a warship. This is even truer of his new battleship, the Bucephalus (Alexander the Great's horse; legend had it that he who rode Bucephalus would conquer the world, so it's a logical choice), which is (somewhat hilariously) stolen or hijacked or commandeered by Valerian Mengsk. Bucephalus' bridge looks more like baroque palace's great hall or ballroom◊ than the command center of a warship.
- Why Am I Ticking?: How Kerrigan finally kills him at the end of Heart of the Swarm.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Word of God is that he had no set plan in place when he planted Tychus as The Mole in Raynor's crew. He just figured he'd stash a card up his sleeve and pull it out at a later date whenever it proved beneficial. This is also why he didn't have Tychus act to stop the mission in "Media Blitz"; by that time he was saving Tychus up for Kerrigan and didn't want to blow his one usage of his infiltrator on Raynor when Kerrigan is the bigger threat.
- You Are What You Hate: Hates the Confederacy, but he's also a member of one of the Old Families, the most corrupt of all facets of the Confederacy. His family was essentially kcikced out of the group when his father tried to push for Korhal's independence, though.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: He does this to Kerrigan by leaving her on Tarsonis. It didn't work out like he thought. It may also revenge for both her questioning his actions and over the fact that she is the Ghost who killed his father.
- You Killed My Father: His original motive for rebelling against the Confederacy before his desire for power consumed him. It's also one of the reasons he abandoned Kerrigan to the Zerg on Tarsonis. She was the Ghost that killed and decapitated his father, his mother, and his little sister.
Son of Arcturus Mengsk and heir apparent of the Dominion. He is interested in archeology, especially the relics of the Xel'naga. It turns out he owns and runs the Moebius Foundation when Raynor's planned meeting with the company's ships turned up meeting up with the Bucephalus, the Dominion's flagship.
Provides examples of:
- Adventurer Archaeologist: As revealed in the Dark Templar novels, he desperately wishes he was one. Hinted at in Wings by his obsession with the Xel'naga artifacts.
- Agent Peacock: Lampshaded in the Flashpoint novel.
- Ambiguously Evil: In the Dark Templar Saga and Wings of Liberty, everyone is wary of him because he may seem nice and trustworthy, but he's still the Emperor's son and is obviously keeping secrets from his allies. In I, Mengsk, he outright tells his father that he won't end up like him and his good side is obvious, but it's also clear that he hasn't quite grasped the ideals of Umoja or his grandfather. Flashpoint and Heart of the Swarm clear up the ambiguity with several scenes to establish his honor and morals are genuine.
- Antagonistic Offspring: Inverted, Valerian is a good man with a wicked father. Come Heart of the Swarm, he's pretty much openly abandoned Arcturus' administration, and Arcturus is apparently content to kill his son alongside Kerrigan in order to see her dead.
- Archnemesis Dad: His relationship with Arcturus totally breaks down come Heart, and we all know Arcturus himself is no angel...
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He tries to prove it at least. While he's yet to take the field in a game so far, he does orchestrate a lot of things by aiding allies, so he mostly succeeds. In the novel Flashpoint, he's also able to subdue some street thugs with his martial arts and swordplay skills.
- Badass Boast: In Flashpoint after Matt sees him take out a gang of street thugs with martial arts and a pocketknife.Matt: Can you kill me with a spoon?
Valerian: Only amateurs need spoons.
- Badass Bookworm: In addition to his fighting skills, he is very well-read and intelligent.
- Big Good: After the series, as shown in Nova Covert Ops DLC, Valerian has developed into this for the new, good Dominion, putting his trust on his allies during Void and Nova as well in terms of the troubles with the Defender of Men.
- Butt-Monkey: In Heart of the Swarm, occasionally; Kerrigan trolls him in the first mission and almost strangles him later after mistakenly believing he left Raynor behind (though this one wasn't played for laughs), Mira Han calls him "princess" and the list goes on.
- Calling the Old Man Out:
- He had no real reason of telling this to Arcturus except to rub it in his face. The kid just wanted to gloat.Valerian: Father, I am about to accomplish that which you could not. Today I will defeat the Queen of Blades and secure peace throughout the Dominion. By this act, the people will finally know that I am a worthy successor to you.
- He does this much more in Flashpoint, letting Arcturus know several times that he is officially fed up with his father putting selfish vendettas above the safety of the Dominion and its people.
- He had no real reason of telling this to Arcturus except to rub it in his face. The kid just wanted to gloat.
- Canon Immigrant: Before Starcraft II, he debuted in the Dark Templar novels.
- The Chains of Commanding: Feels them in the Flashpoint novel. Of the twenty-five battlecruisers he took with him to Char, each with thousands of crew, less than half survived the invasion, and the ones that did, all of them were either destroyed by Arcturus's own half of the fleet, or were damaged and captured, their crews likely to be executed for treason. And they all knew from the start it was treason, especially when Valerian directly turned on Arcturus, but they did it because they wanted to help their prince. The deaths of thousands of good soldiers who believed in him does not sit well with him, and Raynor notes when they next meet in person that the kid is letting it show on his face.
- Character Development: When he starts out in Wings of Liberty, it's still unclear what kind of person he is, and he clearly underestimates Kerrigan, his invasion of Char only being saved by Raynor's help. By Heart of the Swarm, he shows more obvious signs of concern for his forces and allies, and turns out to have developed enough guts to call out Kerrigan for her impatience about saving Raynor. Kerrigan is genuinely impressed.Kerrigan: You've done some growing up since Umoja.
Valerian: Zerg aren't the only ones who adapt.
- The Chessmaster: Aspires to this in Wings of Liberty, orchestrating Raynor's retrieval of the artifacts through the Moebius Foundation in planning to ally with him and lead an invasion of Char. Raynor notes that Valerian sees him as a pawn to be used, but Valerian counters by asking if Raynor cares if cooperation will get him what he wants; Jim admits that no, he doesn't.
- Grows into this in Nova. By faking his abdication, he manages to throw the leader of the Defenders of Men off-guard, allowing her arrest. Even with the Tal'darim screwing things up and the leader escaping later, he still manages to have her eliminated (although he'll prefer to see her getting a fair trial). Lastly, with Nova and her crew going rogue (but still willing to uphold the interests of the Dominion), Valerian will be able to use Plausible Deniability whenever the Griffith does the dirty work which the Dominion would like to do, but couldn't due to image concerns.
- Civil War: Takes half the Dominion's military to the expedition on Char. Arcturus' half destroyed or took over the survivors of the expedition. However, Valerian has the last laugh as the Zerg under Kerrigan dispatches Arcturus at the end of Heart.
- Composite Character: He's basically Anduin Wrynn, with a name that sounds like they just added a syllable in the middle of Varian's.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu??: In Heart.Yeah, she's on his side and all, but still: He called out Kerrigan. And it worked. THREE TIMES
- The Emperor: He becomes this by the time of Legacy, after his father's defeat at the hands of Kerrigan at the end of Heart of the Swarm. though The Good King will probably be more apt.
- Enemy Mine: With Raynor, though he did manipulate him for a great deal through Tychus. However he was not aware of his father's plans with Tychus. Come Flashpoint and Heart of the Swarm, his treachery is made aware to Arcturus and he's become an almost-honorary member of the Raiders, since his fleet is gone and he and his men are now stationed on the Hyperion.
- A Father to His Men: Has shades in Flashpoint. With most of his fleet crippled or on the verge of destruction, he refuses to let any of his men perform a Heroic Sacrifice for his benefit, and gives Raynor a What the Hell, Hero? for even suggesting that some of them be left to die.
- For Science!: The reason he's so intrigued by Xel'naga artifacts. Raynor has to caution him that ancient alien devices are not toys. He's also curious enough about Kerrigan and the Zerg to let her have control of a few of them in the Heart Of The Swarm tutorial mission. By the end, she's destroyed most of the laboratory sector to prove the point that the the Zerg aren't his experimental playthings.
- The Good King: It's no secret even in Wings of Liberty that he wants to be "the best emperor our people could ask for," and as of the end of Heart of the Swarm, he got his wish. It's likely the first time the Koprulu Sector has ever been ruled by a good leader. He even sent an expedition into the freaking Void to help defeat Amon.
- Deconstructed in Nova Covert Ops. Valerian finds out that even with him being an objectively better emperor than his father, there is still resistance to his rule, resistance that may one day need to be dealt with through overt violence. It's up to Nova to save his reputation. At the end, he decides that while being the Good King is important, being able to employ Plausible Deniability is an option worth having, which is why he turns a blind eye to Nova and her crew going rogue, at least for the time being.
- Glory Hound: A relatively benign example; Valerian's ultimate goal is to be worshiped as an even greater emperor than his father - as his father is nihilistic and ruthless, the shortest path to this goal is to be The Good King. While publicly romancing journalists.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: In contrast to the dark-haired Arcturus, Valerian is blond and is a much better person.
- HeelFace Turn: Initially served The Dominion, sworn enemies of Jim Raynor, but come "Flashpoint" and Heart of The Swarm, he now fights against the Dominion alongside Raynor's Raiders. He was especially aware of the prophecy involving Kerrigan, the reason why he refused to hand her over to his father. Subverted however, because from the beginning, his Enemy Mine with Raynor was part of his agenda to prove himself a better man than his father. Furthermore, he did not treat Raynor as the enemy his father made him out to be.
- Heroic BSoD: After Moebius Corps' attack on Augustgrad, he had no words to describe the death and carnage which surrounded him.
- I Am Not My Father: Outright states this, then goes on to prove it.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's definitely a better man than Arcturus, if a bit naive at times. But he's still a Mengsk, and is confident to the point of arrogance. By the end of Heart of the Swarm, thanks to the events of Wings of Liberty and Flashpoint, he's undergone a subdued Break the Haughty and lost some of his naivete, becoming more level-headed.
- Mission Control: In Heart of the Swarm.
- The Nicknamer: Like Raynor, inverted. He's at the receiving end of lots of nicknames, such as "Junior" (Raynor), "Scooter" (Swann) and "Princess" (Mira Han). Only Arcturus, General Warfield, and Kerrigan ever call him by his actual name.
- Not So Different: While he may be a better person than his father, and his rise to power was less bloody, Valerian still became emperor due to the zerg destroying the previous administration, just like his father before him. In this case though, the people didn't mind because (a) his father was that despicable, and (b) he did minimize the civilian casualties, whereas his father had maximized them.
- Number Two: To Horner in Heart of the Swarm after the former temporarily assumed command of the Raiders when Raynor was assumed dead. Interestingly, Valerian outranks Horner due to him being prince and the latter being a captain, but Horner has been the Raiders for a while whereas Valerian is new to them, so Valerian was in a better position being Horner's advisor while Raynor was absent.
- Odd Friendship: With both Raynor and Kerrigan. Despite him being the Crown Prince of the ruling government, Raynor actually seems to genuinely like Valerian by Flashpoint, and Kerrigan, while disdaining his For Science! attitude toward the Zerg, is impressed by his courage and listens to his request to spare civilian centers during her invasion of Korhal.
- Overlord Jr.: Defies this trope in all flavors. Arcturus's poor parenting coupled with his ruthless methods of keeping order in the Dominion have shattered any idealized image Valerian had of him, while his mother emphasized he grow to be a good, proud man. It's mostly worked — he's arrogant and naive, but Valerian is a very different person from Arcturus, and as his page quote demonstrates, wants to prove to the Dominion he's both a better ruler and a better man.
- Pride: He has this as his major flaw. Like father, like son. He eventually gets fed a humility pill and he gets better about it.
- Prince Charming: Referred to as this by Rory Swann.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: His overriding goal is the safety and security of the Terran Dominion, which contrasts with his father, who just wants power. After Heart of the Swarm, when he takes the throne, the first thing he does is dig up his father's black-ops research projects, call the scientists who have been shanghaied, and start actually paying them, in addition to removing the psychopaths his father liked to put in charge. And of course, if the scientists want to go back to their families instead, that's fine too.
- In Nova: Covert Ops, he tries his darn best to arrest the leader of the Defenders of Men (alive) so that she gets a fair trial. Even after Nova kills her (against his orders), he allows Nova and her crew to go rogue, trusting them to help the Dominion from the shadows, at least for the time being.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Wants to prove himself as this, which he does by defeating Kerrigan alongside Raynor.
- Self-Made Orphan: Like Jaina Proudmoore, Valerian is a rare non-evil example justified by his father's cruelty and genocidal tendencies. While he didn't strike the killing blow himself (again, like Jaina), he is more or less directly responsible for Arcturus' death, which comes back to haunt him in Nova: Covert Ops.
- Sins of Our Fathers: Averted. While the Raiders and Kerrigan initially distrust him due to the Mengsk name, the phase passed quickly. After his ascension to the throne, the Mengsk name did not seem to hurt his reputation with Dominion citizens. To be fair, he did work darn hard to distance himself from his father. The Defender of Men in Nova Covert Ops is trying to make the trope played straight by sabotaging his Empire to make it look like Valerian turned out like his father after all.
- Sixth Ranger: Joins with Raynor's Raiders after the Flashpoint Conflict, and is now working with them come Heart Of The Swarm
- Inverted come Legacy, when the Raiders join the Dominion (now under Valerian), with Horner and Raynor taking up leadership roles.
- Sole Survivor: With his father dead, he is the last remaining Mengsk.
- Sunk Cost Fallacy: "I've invested far too much in this endeavor to see it fail." He doesn't even have the excuse of having the Zerg on the run.
- Death-or-Glory Attack: What the Char expedition essentially boils down to.
- Those Two Guys: After Jim gets captured, he and Matt take over command of the Raiders and are Kerrigan's primary Terran contacts in Heart of the Swarm.
- Token Enemy Minority: The Terran Dominion and Raynor's Raiders are at war. Dominion Crown Prince Valerian fights alongside the Raiders as of "Flashpoint".
- Warrior Prince: Tries to be one, anyway.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Subverted. Though flashbacks in The Dark Templar Saga show he was this as a kid, Arcturus was an Abusive Parent and Valerian grew out of it once he realized that. Now his goal is to be his own man rather than just Mengsk Jr., and is more interested in proving to the people that he's not his father and can be a better ruler than him.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He might be an aversion but comes off as one to Jake because his assistant (who was a mole for his father) altered his orders without him being aware of it.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: He's usually good at hiding it, but his entire plan pretty much hinged on the universe rewarding nobility and courage. Of special note is his first meeting with Raynor, which revolved around the idea that Raynor was a noble revolutionary who would want to kill Arcturus personally, rather than the terrorist rebel he was painted as. The Dark Templar Saga novels also have his servants note this, as he doesn't suspect many of them are spies for Arcturus so he can keep tabs on Valerian's private matters.
- Wowing Cthulhu: Kerrigan is impressed that he became a Good King compared to his father.
Military High Command
Mengsk's replacement for the deceased Edmund Duke, General Warfield is a very different kind of military leader than his predecessor. Smooth-talking and well-mannered, Warfield makes very few appearances in Wings of Liberty, mostly acting as Supporting Leader for Mengsk or an offscreen antagonist. Warfield does make an appearance at the end of the story, however.
Provides examples of:
- Anti-Villain: Warfield has basically no villainous traits, and only falls short of being a Hero Antagonist in Wings of Liberty because he works for The Empire. In Heart, that extends to returning under Arcturus's fold.
- Arc Villain: Downplayed in that he's not really a villain but he provides the main opposition of the Char missions in Heart of the Swarm.
- Arm Cannon: Near the end of Wings, he has his poisoned arm amputated and replaced with an arm cannon that transforms into a hand.
- Armor-Piercing Question: "What if Raynor could see you right now?" It gets a reaction.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He eats rocks and spits out gravel.
- Badass Boast: Almost every line of dialogue he has is a boast of how he will win the day.
- Black Comedy: Near the end of Wings, he loses the use of one of his arms. Cut to this conversation:Raynor: Good to see you on your feet, General.
Warfield: Yeah, well, we'll see how long that lasts.
- Cool Old Guy: He's one of the more popular new characters out of Wings, and for a good reason: He bayoneted a zergling, kills a hydralisk by punching it to death, and is so tough he shrugs off enough poison to kill an ultralisk, and gets a shiny new Arm Cannon out of the deal.
- Cyborg: During the assault on Char, he loses his arm to zerg venom and gets it replaced with an Arm Cannon.
- Do Not Go Gentle: Even with his command post falling apart, his men being overrun, and two steel beams impaled through his torso, Warfield remains a badass. He calmly relays evacuation orders, tries to pull the beams out of his chest, sternly demands Kerrigan let his wounded men go free, and when she doesn't answer he insults her and tries to shoot her with his Arm Cannon but it shorts out. Warfield did not let death take him easily.
- A Father to His Men: Not spelled out exactly, but pretty heavily implied, given his warm demeanor and tendency to fight on the front beside his men, and him demanding that Kerrigan spare his retreating soldiers despite heavily wounded and more or less at her mercy.
- Fire-Forged Friends: When they first meet, he obviously doesn't think too highly of Raynor, accusing him and "his terrorist friends" of hiding while he was busy leading the Dominion against the Zerg. After Raynor saves his life and takes command in Warfield's absence, he sees things a little differently.Warfield: All these years, Mengsk made you out to be the devil himself. But I've seen you put it on the line for men who'd otherwise be hunting you down.
Raynor: Your Emperor's the one 'should be brought to justice. All I ever wanted was for folks to live free.
Warfield: Charging into battle with a stranger — taking enemy fire, holding the line shoulder to shoulder — that's the great equalizer of war. It's a honor to fight at your side.
- Foreshadowing: The Black Comedy above becomes a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, as he dies early in Heart of the Swarm, while remaining on Char.
- Four-Star Badass: Has three stars on his uniform (which from our point of view, would give him the rank of lieutenant-general).
- Frontline General: He takes the field with his Marines and takes on an entire zerg force by himself. He seems to have internalized the lesson that tactical subtlety and staff officers don't help much against the Zerg.
- Gangsta Style: Does this as he runs low on ammo.
- I Ain't Got Time to Bleed: Gets impaled through the arm by several Hydralisk spikes. It barely slows him down.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: In Heart of the Swarm.
- Informed Ability: Warfield is allegedly a hyper-competent general, but his one opportunity to demonstrate this prowess goes horribly wrong.
- He is, however, very well aware of the strategic value of taking down the Zerg air support rather than the ground-based nydus worms. The final mission with the zerg air support uncrippled is considered by many to be the hardest mission in Wings by a significant margin. note
- Justified in the sequel, Warfield is likely used to fighting Broods under the command of Broodmothers, who only use limited tactics, or even just feral zerg. The forces on Char were under the command of Kerrigan, which is a whole different thing entirely. Notably, he curbstomped Zagara prior to Kerrigan's arrival and was preparing to commence mop-up operations.
- Meaningful Name: Warfield.
- The Men First: His last act is to request his men to be saved...which Kerrigan grants.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Sticks with Arcturus right to the end, although he did join Valerian on the expedition to Char (which was technically treason against Arcturus).
- Old Soldier: Like Duke, he's probably in his fifties at least, but he, like Fenix, "throws down with the best of them." And if you want a real explanation, all you need to know is that he punched a hydralisk to death and lived to tell about it.
- One-Man Army: When every man with him is dead, he just presses on and takes out the rest of the Zerg host by himself.
- Punch-Clock Villain: He's an honorable and gruff man in his own right, and comes to respect Raynor (though he didn't think much of him at first). But much like Edmund Duke before him, being Mengsk's top general means he's usually against you in missions.
- Remember the New Guy?: According to his backstory, he's been one of Mengsk's top officers ever since he began his rebellion against the Confederacy, which would mean Warfield was out there somewhere kicking ass for the entirety of the original game and Brood War.
- Retired Badass: He was retired prior to Starcraft II; Mengsk brought him back into service at the beginning of Wings of Liberty.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Defeated by Kerrigan, he is mortally wounded...and she murders him the second he mentions Raynor's name.
- Welcome Back, Traitor: By joining Valerian on his expedition in Wings, Warfield was effectively committing treason against Arcturus. In Heart, while Valerian is directly attacked by Arcturus's men, Warfield was left alone, by and large.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Gives one to Kerrigan in Heart of the Swarm when she begins her Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Mengsk on Char, killing the same Dominion soldiers who freed her, while also calling out that she's betraying Raynor's trust in her which might have gotten through to her, but since Kerrigan had already heard the UNN say that Raynor was executed, somebody working for Mengsk talking about turning against Raynor turned out to be a Berserk Button for her. It wasn't completely ineffective, however; after killing Warfield, she let the remaining Dominion forces go.
Edmund Duke was the Confederacy's greatest general, and the leader of Alpha Squadron, their greatest force. He starts off as a fairly generic villain, opposing Raynor and insulting backwater worlds, until Mengsk and Raynor save his life from the Zerg and demand his loyalty in return. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Confederacy prove key to Mengsk's victory, but surprisingly, Duke proves completely loyal to him, enough so that when Raynor rebels when Mengsk's evil intentions become clear, Duke stays with Mengsk.
Ultimately, Kerrigan convinced Mengsk (and Duke, though not seen) and Fenix to assist her, and while they honored their part of the bargain, Kerrigan did not, and murdered Duke to cripple Mengsk's military.
Provides examples of:
- Anti-Villain: He's a crusty Jerkass for sure, but Duke never acts in a way that could be considered "evil", and is shown to be a loyal soldier to his superiors, has some shades of A Father to His Men, and conducts most business with impersonal professionalism. He's best thought of as a Punch-Clock Villain that so happens to always be on the clock when players run into him.
- Continuity Snarl: Blizzard has trouble keeping the history of Duke's ships in line. The game depicts the Norad II being repaired and used to attack Tarsonis, but the novel Liberty's Crusade says the Sons of Korhal set the ship to self-destruct to destroy the Zerg in the area. Then another novel Shadow of the Xel'Naga retconned it back to surviving, and further said that the Norad II was retrofitted into the Norad III. Then the same novel has the Norad III be destroyed along with the rest of Duke's fleet, and since the novel takes place before Brood War, this messes up the ship's appearance in the expansion. The novel Firstborn gave a Hand Wave that only most of Duke's fleet was destroyed, the Norad III was either spared or recovered and repaired, but Liberty's Crusade is a straight retcon.
- Cool Starship: His flagship, the Norad II, is a pumped-up Battlecruiser and one of the best hero units in the original game. In Brood War he commands the new, upgraded Norad III.
- Deep South: He has the most pronounced accent of any character in the game save Stukov.
- Demoted to Extra: After being a major character in the first game, Brood War only sees him appear in two missions, and they're brief appearances too.
- Dirty Coward: It's implied he doesn't like to dirty his hands himself, leading from the back and retreating when unable to win. When Duke volunteers to lead an attack on Tarsonis' orbital platforms, Raynor is surprised to see him offering to lead a frontal assault. Duke's subsequent comments are that he knows the other Confederate squadrons stationed on the platform suck compared to his own Alpha Squadron men, and Raynor deflates when he realizes Duke is only taking the field because he knows it'll be an easy fight for him.
- Double Take: The normally unflappable Duke has one in Episode V when meeting Stukov, who tells Duke they're the United Earth Directorate. Duke's reaction is to sputter and respond to the effect of "wait, what?"
- The Dragon: To Mengsk after Episode I.
- Elite Army: Duke's Alpha Squadron is known as the best of the Confederacy's armed forces, and deploying them is the Confederacy's knee-jerk response to any serious threat. Up until they sent them to Antiga to deal with Mengsk and the Zerg, it worked too.
- "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: He's did this to Kerrigan.Duke: Do your worst then, little girl! You ain't takin' Edmund Duke without a fight!
- Four-Star Badass: He got to his position because of his admirable war record.
- General Failure: Has the misfortune of almost always being on the opposite side from the player character, to the point where the only battle he wins onscreen is Tarsonis, a planet whose defenses he knows inside and out.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: One of the multiplayer maps in Starcraft 64 has Raynor and Duke competing in a friendly game of "Zergling Round-Up"
- Grumpy Old Man: Duke looks and sounds like he's perpetually in a bad mood, even when he actually isn't.
- HeelFace Turn: And then, a FaceHeel Turn without doing any turning. Few characters can claim that feat.
- Informed Attribute: He's supposed to be one of the finest generals of the Confederacy. Between the games and in the novels though, you can count on one hand how many battles he wins, one of which in the novels is a Pyrrhic Victory that costs him most of Alpha Squadron. Most of the time, be it Mengsk, Raynor, the UED, protoss, or zerg, Duke is left defeated and humiliated.
- Jerkass: Though its quite obvious the second you hear him talk for the first time, the novelizations turns it up worse - after Raynor defects, his men are being overrun by Zerg and he can't save them. Raynor begs Duke to help them, offering to turn himself in if he does. Duke laughs in his face.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: In the early missions of Episode I. When Backwater Station radios in a distress call that the Zerg are attacking them, Duke tells Raynor and the Magistrate "don't do anything, I'm on top of it". When the Mar Sara militia show up anyway and destroy the Command Center the Zerg were based out of, Duke has Raynor arrested for essentially property damage.note
- Old Soldier: He is old and crusty, but he's still willing to enter the front lines to fight.
- One-Man Army: In the Norad II, he deals 50 damage a shot (a One-Hit KO to Marines) and has a whopping 700 HP with 4 armor. In the mission where you take control of Duke, you can win the entire mission by having him solo the enemy bases, as long as you're keen to keep him repaired and target the strong anti-air units first. His tank isn't too shabby either; in tank mode he deals the same damage as a standard Siege Tank does in siege mode, and in siege mode he does 150 splash damage, enough to kill most targets and anything in their immediate vicinity.
- Save the Villain: Despite hating his guts, Jim Raynor saved his life twice. First for the Zerg on Antiga Prime and later from the UED during their assault on Korhal.
- Tank Goodness: He commands his personal Siege Tank in the Precursor campaign and the unused mission "Biting the Bullet".
- We Have Reserves: The "Damn fringe world yokel" colonial militias are fully expendable in his eyes.
- See: Raynor's Raiders
A high-ranking member of the Dominion military that rises to media prominence in the years after the End War. Plays a role in Nova Covert Ops. Acts as Mission Control for the co-op mission Part and Parcel.
Provides examples of:
- Avenging the Villain: Davis plotted to overthrow Valerian to avenge Arcturus's death.
- Best Served Cold: Since Covert Ops takes place six years after Legacy of the Void, that's how long Davis has been plotting to avenge Arcturus.
- Didn't Think This Through: The Defenders of Man are a known anti-Dominion rebel group, and it's implied many of its lower-ranked members have no idea who is really leading them or what Davis' true motives are. If Valerian stepped down and Davis took over the Dominion, she'd either have to dissolve the Defenders or reveal herself as their leader and try to merge them into the Dominion in some manner, and neither option would have gone down well with the troops. Not to mention that if any word of this got out, it'll inspire rebellion against her, just like Arcturus and Valerian. Oh, and she made an enemy of the Tal'darim, and Alarak would have no problem declaring war on the Dominion and bringing his wrath down upon them. All in all, even in a best case scenario where everything worked out for her and she was named Empress of the Dominion, Davis' reputation would be very fragile and she would have a war with Alarak to deal with.
- Distaff Counterpart: To Arcturus Mengsk himself. She's an affable individual with a southern accent and a high rank in the Dominion and is willing to use psi-emitters to overthrow a government. To top it off, she's killed by a Ghost of whom she used and betrayed.
- Dragon Ascendant: She was one of Arcturus Mengsk's confidants, but after his death, she decides to carry on his legacy and attempts to seize control of the Dominion.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Is mentioned and briefly visible in one of the first mission pack's cutscenes, and makes her first speaking appearance in one of the second mission pack's cutscenes before she is revealed to be the central villain.
- Evil Counterpart: Believe it or not, to Jim Raynor. Like Raynor, she's trying to rebel against the Dominion and overthrow its Emperor. While Raynor broadcasts transmissions from the Zerg invasion of Tarsonis to reveal Arcturus' involvement in the planet's destruction, Davis has transmissions from the Zerg invasion of Korhal that reveal Valerian's involvement with Kerrigan's attack, including giving what amounts to his blessing for her to kill his father.
- Face Death with Dignity: After the Xanthos is destroyed, she remains inside the wreck, unable to run anywhere else. She delivers one last Hannibal Lecture to Nova and says no more before she is killed.
- FaceHeel Turn: A retroactive example; she fights alongside Valerian's Dominion against Amon's hybrid in co-op mode, which takes place chronologically before Covert Ops.
- Flat Character: Other than wanting to depose and kill Valerian to avenge Arcturus, there isn't much to Davis in terms of personality. And even then, her past with Arcturus and why she is loyal to him after death are unknown factors.
- Foil: To generals Duke and Warfield. Like them, she is a commander in the Dominion military and one of Mengsk's most loyal soldiers going back years. However, she is fairly friendly and personable while still being professional, whereas Duke and Warfield were gruff and hard. Also, Duke and Warfield followed Arcturus and Valerian in their rebellions; Davis is the leader of hers, fighting against Valerian in the name of Arcturus.
- Frontline General: Pilots a mech in Part and Parcel. The objective there is to gather as many machine parts to repair it into fighting shape to fight the hybrids.
- Karmic Death: She's shot dead by Nova, of whom she deceived into being a traitor and tried to brainwash thereafter.
- Misplaced Retribution: Blames Valerian for the death of his late father, but it was Kerrigan who did the deed.
- Never My Fault: A particularly egregious case. She is secretly leading the Defenders of Man, an anti-Dominion organization which seeks to depose Valerian on grounds that his leniency towards alien races puts humanity at danger... even though all recent alien attacks are solely and entirely their doing. They place psi emitters on Dominion worlds to lure feral Zerg there and launch an unprovoked attack on Tal'darim outpost, prompting them to retaliate. And in spite of all that, when Tal'darim invade Defenders' homeworld of Vardona, Davis has the nerve to blame Valerian for not preventing it.
- Non-Action Big Bad: As an older woman without armor, she goes down with one shot from any of Nova's weapons.
- Remember the New Guy?: If the picture of her with Arcturus is an indicator, she's been by his side since the Sons of Korhal were rebelling against the Confederacy. She was never mentioned until the Covert Ops DLC.
- The Smurfette Principle: Aside from Nova, who is a special ops agent, Davis is the first female ranking officer of the Dominion to be seen.
- The Starscream: She's leading the Defenders of Man to overthrow Valerian and seize control of the Dominion.
- Theme Naming: She pilots two mechas, the Balius in Co-op and the Xanthos in Covert Ops, named for two twin immortal horses in Greek Mythology.
- Villain with Good Publicity: She's well-liked by the Dominion and its citizens even as she plots attacks against it to discredit Valerian's rule.
- Walking Spoiler: She's the Big Bad of the Covert Ops DLC, as the leader of the Defenders of Man.
Two reporters working for the UNN, Kate being the field reporter and Donny the desk anchor. Kate tries to be impartial and truthful, but since the truth is that Arcturus Mengsk is The Emperor leading a Hegemonic Empire, she often finds herself shut down by Donny, a staunch Mengsk loyalist. During Wings of Liberty, Donny suffers a breakdown and takes a leave of absence, netting Kate a promotion to desk anchor, while Donny returns in Legacy of the Void to take over Kate's old job.
Provides examples of:
- Blatant Lies: Donny is very unsubtle with pushing Dominion propaganda in the face of evidence that defies it.Donny Vermillion: I assume casualties were high as a result of Raynor's terrorist actions.
Kate Lockwell: Actually the only civilian deaths appear to be collateral damage from overzealous Dominion security forc—
Donny Vermillion: Thanks, Kate. You heard it here first! Jim Raynor: Killing women and children on Mar Sara.
- Break the Haughty: When Mengsk's hand in the fall of Tarsonis is exposed, Donny falls into a Heroic BSoD and is eventually committed to a mental institution, his faith in the Dominion completely shattered.
- The Cameo: Kate's voice can be heard in the last cinematic of Legacy's epilogue campaign.
- Canon Immigrant: Kate Lockwell appeared in the comics before she did in-game.
- Catchphrase:Donny: You heard it here first!
- Double Standard: Donny answers the question posed by some viewers that ask what's wrong with Raynor rebelling against the Dominion when it was founded after Arcturus rebelled and overthrew the Confederacy. His response? "Yes, but Emperor Mengsk didn't do it during an alien invasion!" This completely ignores the fact that while Mengsk may not have begun his rebellion during an alien invasion, the arrival of the Zerg and Protoss did nothing to dissuade him from continuing. And, in more ways than one, he twisted it to his advantage.Raynor: Everyone's a critic.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: After learning that Mengsk was responsible for the Zerg invasion of Tarsonis that his brother died in, Donny went insane and had to be committed to an asylum. He eventually recovered and came back as a field reporter.
- HeelFace Turn: Donny during the events of Legacy of the Void (specifically the Co-op mission "The Vermillion Problem"), though the fact that Mengsk is dead, his reputation disavowed, and the Dominion pulling a HeelFace Turn as a whole meant that Donny himself didn't need to do much.
- Hypocritical Humor: "What is up with that woman?! Tell her not to interrupt my interviews!" This from the man who constantly cuts Kate off when she starts saying things he doesn't want to hear.
- Insane Troll Logic: Donny claims he can't talk in-depth about Dominion plans to push back the Zerg, because he'd be giving away military secrets. Kate questions if Donny really thinks the Zerg watch their broadcasts, and Donny affirms he knows they do.
- Intrepid Reporter: Kate has been on-site with Dominion militia teams to get the scoop.
- Is This Thing Still On?: Donny has a bad habit of talking about things he shouldn't when the cameras are still picking him up, such as complaining about Kate asking General Warfield a question when Donny was the one talking to him.
- Kate has her own moment after Donny is sent to the looney bin, howling and whooping during the cut to logo, not realizing they're still recording her.
- Jerkass: Donny isn't exactly the nicest guy in the sector.Vermillion: Up next, a Vermillion commentary: refugees, are they really our responsibility?
Raynor: You're all heart, Donny.
- Kent Brockman News: UNN Live with Donny Vermillion. Raynor shoots at the screen with a broadcast in the first cinematic on Mar Sara, and got a note from the bartender mentioning that the screen would be put on his tab!. That's why there's a "don't shoot the screen" warning sign attached to the big TV screen in the Hyperion cantina.
- News Reel: The UNN, which has been around since StarCraft. Used by the Confederacy, then by the Dominion as a propaganda machine.
- Noodle Implements: After Donny's meltdown, he's found "clad only in his socks, and in possession of a copy of Emperor Mengsk's Manifesto and a pound of peanut butter."
- Ship Tease: Donny asks Valerian if there's any woman he has an eye on. He actually says (on a live news broadcast, remember) that he's quite taken with Kate, flustering her. Considering she's an honest reporter dedicated to ferreting out the truth not caring if it makes the Dominion look good or not, and Valerian detests the corruption in the Dominion that his father has fostered, he may be serious.
- Show Within a Show: The UNN newscasts, which is based on CNN.
- Straw Man News Media: In Wings of Liberty, the UNN broadcasts act as a parody of propaganda news media, and provide a window for players to see how Mengsk maintains his Villain with Good Publicity status. With loyal supporters like Donny controlling what the public sees, anything that might make the Dominion look back is censored, and anything Raynor does are painted as terrorist attacks.
- The Bus Came Back: After last being mentioned in the final newscast of Wings of Liberty, Donny returns as Mission Control for the Co-op mission "The Vermillion Problem." Lore established that he was eventually rehabilitated and came back to the UNN as a reporter.
- The World Must Know The Truth: Why Kate tends to be impartial and talk against the Dominion according to Expanded Universe sources. She became disillusioned after meeting Michael Liberty.
- Those Two Guys: In Wings of Liberty.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Kate delivers one after the last "Epilogue" mission. note
A Moebius Foundation scientist tasked to help Nova's special ops team by Valerian.
Provides examples of:
- Artificial Limbs: He has two robotic arms.
- Bald, Black Leader Guy: He's bald, he's black, and while not the leader of Nova's crew, he's her Mission Control while she takes the field.
- For Science!: Surprisingly Subverted despite him being from Moebius. He explains to Nova that he originally joined the Foundation hoping he could invent great things for the sector, only to end up destroying his career.
- Mission Control: Informs Nova of new mission objectives and general status updates.
- Oh, Crap!: His updates fall into this occasionally, especially when the Xanthos transforms into a mode he knows nothing about.
- The Smart Guy: Fills the role of the DLC's technical specialist, outfitting Nova and her crew with upgrades and equipment.
- Spock Speak: He speaks in a stiff and articulate manner.
- Undying Loyalty: As he puts it, he and the crew of the Griffin are loyal only to Nova. Loyal enough to go rogue with her.
A master Thor pilot working with his two friends, SCV operator Rieff, the computer whiz, and Garth, who acts as muscle when Sandin needs more. Sandin's skills have earned him the nickname "Thundergod".
Provides examples of:
- A God Am I: Doesn't declare himself an actual god, but he does like the nickname he's earned and thinks that in the Thor he's invincible.
- Gold Fever: Pulls You Have Outlived Your Usefulness on Garth and Rieff when the three try to steal a fortune in crystals from an old facility.
- Greed: Pity for him those crystals are infested with zerg spores.
A soldier serving under Jon Dyre, he pilots the Wyrm, the prototype to the Viking. When Dyre snaps during a demonstration and takes the first Viking rogue, Carter went in the Wyrm to stop him.
Provides examples of:
- Flawed Prototype: The Wyrm is emphasized to be slower, less maneuverable, has weaker weapons, weaker armor, and a longer response time than the Viking that Dyre is piloting. Carter is only able to beat Dyre by outsmarting him, and spends the rest of the story evading and fleeing from him.
An exceptional Dominion pilot, he mentored Wes on piloting the Wyrm. However, he's got a lot of issues with the Dominion, which may or may not be cooked up in his own head.
Provides examples of:
- Broken Pedestal: Wes idolized him, but Dyre's actions ruin that image of him.
- Dark and Troubled Past: His experiences during the Great War drove him insane.
- Evil Mentor: More crazy than evil, but he is from Wes's point of view.
- Properly Paranoid: While we never find out if his suspicions about his former allies and the colonists he's destroyed are founded, the rest of the Frontline series does show the zerg are always looking for more covert ways to conduct infestation, so maybe Dyre was right.
- Quicksand Sucks: Downplayed, Wes tricks him into landing his Viking in a bog.
Colin's father and the senator of Dominion planet Maltair IV. When he discovered Colin's abilities he tried to keep them secret, and when he failed and Colin was taken by the Ghost Academy, he defected to the Umojan Protectorate to fight the Academy's influence.
Provides examples of:
- Badass Normal: He remembers enough of his SCV training to still operate them, and is skilled enough at disguising his thoughts to fool a trained ghost.
- Defector from Decadence: Played with. It's implied he's still loyal to Mengsk and and the Dominion, and is only with the Umojans because he knows speaking against the Ghost Academy in Dominion territory would get him silenced.
- Papa Bear: Everyone he does is to get his son back.
- Self-Made Man: Implied, he used to be a humble SCV operator.
A Corporal in the Dominion, Faraday leads the Korhal Defense Force, and defends the capital city of Augustgrad when Amon attempts to use Void Shards to destroy the city.
Provides examples of:
The head scientist on the Dominion "Gestalt" program, formed with the intent to implant protoss organs in ghosts to create hybrid supersoldiers.
- Mad Scientist: Read the character description again. He delights in mutilating protoss and grafting their organs onto humans.
- Catchphrase: "I should warn you; this is probably going to hurt."
- The Dog Bites Back: His pet Psycho Prototype, after getting deprogrammed by the protoss he's been tormenting, gouges his lungs out with a Psiblade, and gives him an Ironic Echo of his own Catchphrase.
A lieutenant in the UED, Morales was sent to the Koprulu Sector as part of their expeditionary fleet. Following the UED fleet's destruction she joined the Terran Dominion, retaining her rank.
She debuted in Heroes of the Storm as a hero-unit, representing the Medic, and acts as Mission Control for the Co-op Mission "Dead of Night" in Legacy of the Void.
- Been There, Shaped History: Her profile claims she was one of the four Medics that the UED sent in to drug and pacify the Overmind during the Brood War.
- Canon Foreigner: Just like Sergeant Hammer, Morales is an original character created for Heroes of the Storm that made her way in the Stacraft series.
- Loose Canon: Also just like Sergeant Hammer. Both Co-op and Heroes of the Storm are of dubious canonicity to Starcraft lore, so it's questionable if Rosa Morales actually exists in the canon.
- The Medic: Her profession and game unit.
- Powered Armor: As a Medic she's equipped with a suit.