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"You can't out-think the swarm, you can't out-maneuver the swarm, and you certainly can't break the morale of the swarm."
Ronald Jackson

The bulk of the Zerg, the Swarm is led by the Overmind in command of a Hive Mind. The Overmind commanded the Zerg through Cerebrates, implied to be aspects of the Overmind's consciousness given form and sentience. Each Cerebrate in turn commanded a Brood with a specific role in the Swarm. The mission of the Swarm is evolution itself — find new worlds and new species, conquer those worlds and assimilate those species to grow stronger, and continue on. The ultimate prize of this goal is the Protoss, the Overmind believing that the assimilation of their race to be the destiny of the Swarm.


When the Overmind located the Protoss homeworld Aiur it launched an invasion and manifested on the planet. Through the efforts of Raynor's Raiders and Tassadar's Warband the Overmind was killed, and the Swarm split into two between Kerrigan and the Cerebrates commanded by Daggoth. The two sides warred for total control of the Zerg, a conflict that became known as the Brood War. Eventually Kerrigan destroyed the Cerebrates and took full control of the Swarm, naming herself Queen of the Zerg. Kerrigan subsequently replaced the Cerebrates with Broodmothers, who similarly lead the Broods of the Swarm in her name.

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    The Swarm 
  • Alien Invasion: In their earliest days, they infiltrated the Terran fringe worlds with spores that birth Zerg on the surface to overwhelm the planet. They soon turned to simply unleashing millions and millions of Zerg on them from orbit instead.
  • Big Bad: In the first game. They also shared the spot with the UED in Brood War and the Dominion in Wings of Liberty.
  • Blood Knight: The Baelrog Brood, commanded by Gorn, is bred to be particularly ravenous and bloodthirsty, to the point of being cannibalistic both to themselves and other Broods.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: With the exception of Brood War-Infested Kerrigan, the Zerg are not malicious or evil in their invasion and infestation of countless worlds, they just don't have any concept of morality beyond "everything that is not Zerg is a threat, and thus must be be assimilated or killed". They also genuinely believe assimilating species is doing them a favor. For example, Zagara in Heart of the Swarm muses that Terrans must live lonely, isolated lives with no hive mind to unite them and no higher purpose to guide them. She not only suggests assimilating the race into the Swarm will alleviate these problems for them, but does so in a completely innocuous manner.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: It turns out that Amon and his servants created the Overmind without free will, in order to use the entire Swarm as a tool to wipe out the other Xel-Naga.
  • The Brute: The Jormungand Brood, led by Araq, used brute force and overwhelming numbers to crush enemies.
  • Color-Coded Armies:
    • Under the Overmind, Tiamat Brood was red, Garm Brood was orange, Jormungand Brood was purple, Baelrog Brood was white, Grendel Brood was brown, Leviathan Brood was yellow, Fenris Brood was teal, and Surtur Brood was blue. The color purple is most universally associated with the Swarm however, as it's the color of the playable Zerg in the original campaign.
    • In Wings of Liberty, most of Kerrigan's Swarm Zerg are violet, with special or elite units being colored orange. Heart of the Swarm changes this up a bit, with Kerrigan's units being orange, then purple following her her re-infestation. Zagara's rogue brood is red, and feral zerg broods are pale yellow.
    • In Legacy of the Void, the Swarm remains purple, while Amon's brood is red. In Covert Ops, the invading Zerg are orange, an early indicator that the Swarm isn't behind the latest Zerg attacks.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Garm Brood as commanded by Zasz specialized in Hit-and-Run Tactics, sneak attacks, and generally used any advantage they could get to subvert enemy defenses and weaken their position.
  • The Corruption: The Primal Zerg see their Hive Mind as this, seeing how it was imposed to them by Amon and made them lose their individuality, something they consider unacceptable following their philosophy.
  • The Dreaded: Everyone is terrified of and hates the Swarm. While the Protoss see them as abominations to be exterminated, the Terrans see them as monsters to flee from and do so. Even Primal Zerg, the originals, hate the Swarm and regard them as "broken" or "corrupted".
  • Elite Army: Daggoth's Tiamat Brood were the most highly evolved and potent of the Broods.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: Zerg in themselves aren't particularly fire-themed, but the Swarm's primary hive planet, Char, is a hostile volcanic world, with acid swamps for water features. It has been suggested in both games and promotional materials they have a preference for such planets, since their adaptability allows them to survive and get tougher in an environment otherwise hostile to Terrans and Protoss, giving them an Home Field Advantage.
  • Godzilla Threshold: When the other Broods fail to break an enemy, the Overmind sends in the Surtur Brood, the most powerful of the Broods and so violent that even stray Zerg left behind are often killed in their onslaught.
  • Heel–Race Turn: Played with in Heart of the Swarm. They still are not in the best relationship with other species, but thanks to Kerrigan's Heel–Face Turn, they have become at least somewhat more heroic than they used to be. They fought alongside Raynor's Raiders against Emperor Mengsk, and now recognize that there is a much bigger evil on the horizon. After Amon's death and Kerrigan's ascension as a Xel'Naga, Zagara seems satisfied with controlling Char and the systems around it while leaving the Terran and Protoss alone, though it's unknown how long that will last.
  • Hive Drone: Most members of the Swarm, with the exception of Kerrigan, the Overmind, and the cerebrates, fit this trope's description. There is even an actual unit type called a drone whose only purposes are to harvest resources and morph into structures that let you make other types of Zerg.
  • Hive Mind: First controlled by the Overmind, then by Kerrigan. The Zerg are further divided into Broods that can be controlled by intermediaries. The Overmind used Cerebrates, Kerrigan uses Broodmothers.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: They're on both ends of it with the Primal Zerg, the Swarm sniffing their focused evolutions and Hive Mind make them superior to the chaotic and directionless Primals.
  • Not Me This Time: In Nova Covert Ops. Technically, the Zerg are causing trouble for the Dominion again, but it's not Zagara's doing—The Defenders of Man are using Psi-emitters to lure Zerg attacks on civilian worlds.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: In Heart of the Swarm onward. They technically no longer are villains and actively help saving the Universe from Amon, but their methods still involve unleashing hordes of monstrous bugs on their opponents and assimilating other creatures.
  • You Will Be Assimilated: Any species they find that could be of use to them are consumed by the Swarm. Some are recreated directly to be used as new Zerg breeds, others have choice genetic traits analyzed and integrated into existing breeds.

    Sarah Kerrigan 

Sarah Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades
Not all makeovers are good...
Click the note to see (spoiler alert) her Primal form. note 
"Every living thing in the universe will bow before the Queen of Blades, or else they will die. Obedience or oblivion. That is why we fight."

Voiced by: Glynnis Talken-Campbell (Starcraft) and Tricia Helfer (Starcraft II)

Kerrigan was once a Terran Ghost - a skilled covert ops soldier with (inhibited) psychic abilities. Kerrigan in particular has a rather elaborate backstory, in which it's explained that her psionics are far more powerful than any other human's. In the events of StarCraft, she begins by fighting alongside Acturus Mengsk and Raynor, until she is betrayed by the former (prompting the latter to leave the newly-founded Dominion) and left to her supposed demise at the hands of the Zerg. Following this, it is revealed that she has been captured by the Zerg and infested, making her an incredibly powerful agent of the Zerg Swarm.

In the events of Starcraft: Brood War, following the Overmind's death, Kerrigan takes it upon herself to dispose of the remaining 'leaders' of the Zerg Swarm - the Cerebrates - in order to gain control of it while manipulating and deceiving all the other factions in the process. In the end, she claims control of the entire Zerg species for herself while crippling most other factions, setting herself up as the self-proclaimed "Queen of Blades".

In Starcraft II, it has been prophesied that Kerrigan will take part in a grand final battle against the Dark Voice, if she is killed before that time then the galaxy will fall.

Provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Her organic claws and Razor Wings can somehow cut through steel. In her Primal form, a closer examination reveals they are reinforced with small psionic blades at their tips.
  • Action Girl: A Dark Action Girl as an Infested Terran.
  • Alien Hair: Her hair turns into dark brown dreadlock-like tendrils after she becomes infested. Even when her infestation is reversed and her humanity restored at the end of Wings of Liberty, her hair retains its tendril shape.
  • And I Must Scream: What her the process of her infestation was described as. Heart of the Swarm mentions that she was conscious during the entire time, saying she felt her body right down to her bones being taken apart and rebuilt. No wonder she hates Mengsk for leaving her to that.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Goes from a Terran fighting the Zerg to a powerful Zerg herself.
  • Anti-Hero/Anti-Villain: Heart of the Swarm follows her journey to become one or the other after she's freed from her infestation, with Kerrigan herself unsure where she falls on the "hero/villain" scale. She variably both Kicks and Pets the Dog throughout the campaign, and both does good things for evil motivations or does evil things to good ends. By the end of the campaign she's settled on being an Anti-Hero; now that Mengsk is dead and her vengeance fulfilled, she looks to be taking the fight to Amon to help save the galaxy.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: At the climax of Legacy of the Void, she becomes a Xel'naga after absorbing the essence of Ouros, another Xel'naga who was imprisoned by Amon deep within the Void. She succeeds in killing Amon for good and saving the universe, and some time later, as seen in the epilogue, she mysteriously comes out of nowhere for Raynor, who leaves with her; the two of them are never seen or heard of again.
  • The Atoner: In Heart of the Swarm, she mentions a few times she will answer for what she's done, after she's finished with Mengsk. She also shows regret for many of her actions, both before the game and the ones she commits during it. When asked to become a Xel'Naga so she can defeat Amon, she agrees with no hesitation, stating she considers it a way to make up for the blood she has on her hands.
    • Come the ending of Legacy of the Void, nothing can challenge her, as she becomes a xel'naga, while both Narud and Amon are pushing up daisies.
  • Badass Boast:
    • In Brood War:
      Kerrigan: I am the Queen of Blades, and my stare alone would reduce you to ash!
      Kerrigan: I don't think so, Admiral. You see, at this point... I'm pretty much the Queen Bitch of the Universe. And not even all of your little soldiers or spaceships will stand in my way again.
    • In the Heart of the Swarm trailer.
      Kerrigan: I am the swarm. Vengeance shall be mine!
    • Another one in the ending when talking about the threat of Amon.
      But I will not face this enemy alone. I am the Swarm.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: By the end of Brood War, she successfully becomes the new leader of the entire Zerg Swarm and is effectively one of the strongest beings in the Sector, with all other factions crippled, exterminated or with their leaders dead.
  • Battle Couple: With Raynor whenever they're on the same side. When they suit up together in Heart of the Swarm, there's some banter about it being "just like old times".
  • The Beastmaster: Now that the Zerg is no longer the tool of Amon and she has become a Primal Zerg herself, this side of her has become more emphasized.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: For most of her life, Kerrigan was a Cosmic Plaything who was manipulated all her life and after her infestation became the Big Bad responsible for billions of death. By the end of Legacy of the Void, she has become a Physical God who makes the choice of saving the Universe by defeating Amon, and is implied to now be spreading new life on planets.
  • Being Evil Sucks: When she betrays Mengsk on Korhal and calls him out for having abandoned her to the Zerg, she calls her infestation "hell." And shortly afterward, after killing Fenix and his Protoss forces as well, she says she is "weary of the slaughter."
  • Berserk Button: In Heart of the Swarm, if you're from the Dominion, don't even think of bringing up the topic of Jim Raynor, EVER.
    • Predictably, the topic of Mengsk fills her with homicidal rage.
    • Berserker Tears: When she thinks Mengsk executed Raynor.
  • Big Bad: Played with in Brood War, where she is a mix of this and Villain Protagonist fighting the UED. Played straight in Wings of Liberty.
  • Book-Ends: She is infested and later deinfested on the planet Char.
    • Out of universe, the cutscenes in Brood War and Heart of the Swarm where Kerrigan's story arc conclude are called "Ascension"; In the first case, she was an arrogant monster who had forsaken humanity, in the second, she is a Noble Demon who values life and is no longer alone.
    • By the end of both Brood War and Legacy of the Void, her power cannot be challenged within the sector.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: During her time as the Overmind's agent; during Brood War and Wings of Liberty, she was more a case of More Than Mind Control influenced by Amon.
  • Breakout Character: Was initially intended to be a minor character, only to end up being one of the most iconic figures in the franchise. See What Could Have Been.
  • But Now I Must Go: At the end of Heart of the Swarm, she takes off to her Swarm in order to prepare the fight against Amon, leaving Raynor. At the very least, they go separate ways on amicable terms.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: She happily admits she's a monster and the "Queen Bitch of the Universe" after her Face–Heel Turn.
  • The Chessmaster: She plays all her enemies against each other in Brood War to the end result of all of them being weakened and demoralized while she controls the Swarm and rules the galaxy.
  • The Chosen One: Enough of one that if she's killed, the galaxy is doomed; the Overmind specifically designed her to succeed him so she could be the one freeing Zerg from Amon's influence and prevent the Bad Future.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Eventually turns on everyone she allies with in Brood War, from the Protoss, to fellow Zerg commanders, to her own former Terran friends.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: As the Big Bad, Kerrigan had yellow Volcanic Veins and Glowing Eyes of Doom. After her Heel–Face Turn in Heart of the Swarm, she gets Volcanic Veins and Glowing Eyes of Doom colored purple.
  • Combat Stilettos: In her Zerg-infested form, Kerrigan has chitinous spikes protruding from her heels that act like organic stiletto heels. They do not seem to hinder her during combat, and she's quite physical as a fighter.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: All Heroic units are usually less affected by certain powers. But Kerrigan is completely immune to the Hive Mind Emulator that can take possession of any zerg. Averted with the psi-disrupter that the UED and later Mengsk uses.
  • Cosmic Plaything: She's been used and manipulated by other people for their own ends her entire life, and it usually ends up going badly for her. Even her actions in Brood War were influenced by Amon. Heart of the Swarm is the first time Kerrigan has fully been in control of her own life and has no superior to answer to or live in fear of.
    Amon: You are but a product of a flawed cycle. Manipulated for the entirety of your existence.
    • Inverted come the ending of Legacy of the Void. As xel'naga, Sarah has great, cosmic-level power.
  • Creepy Good: Becomes this in Heart of the Swarm. The general rule of thumb is that the artifact removed most of Amon's influence, and her primal transformation removed what little was still left, and as such, she is much more human in character after the reinfestation than she was when she appeared human.
  • Cruel Mercy: Let Zeratul and Mengsk live on different occasions she had them at her mercy so they could suffer more. In Zeratul's case, it was because he had been forced to kill his matriarch. For Mengsk, she wanted him to be able to reclaim his power so that his eventual downfall at her hands would be that much worse for him.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Her monstrous infested form emphasizes her breasts and curves, and her face continues to look like that of an attractive, human woman. In fact, many characters comment she's good-looking in spite or because of her infestation.
  • Dark Action Girl: The Queen of Blades, who achieved vengeance against all her enemies and made herself ruler of the Zerg swarm and Kroprulu sector, which fears her return.
  • Dark Messiah: The Overmind created her to save the Zerg from Greater-Scope Villain Amon, a role Kerrigan embraces in Heart of the Swarm.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Generally has a very dry, caustic wit.
    Kerrigan: At this point... I'm pretty much the Queen Bitch of the Universe.
    • Of course, sometimes it's not so caustic.
      Kerrigan: (to Jim, after being separated on Umoja) Jim, I'll take your ship. But if you get yourself killed... you're in huge trouble.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Amon invoked a More Than Mind Control version on her during her initial term as the Queen of Blades. She was aware of him, but the relics of the Overmind's programming nudged her into believing opposing Amon was pointless, and the only reasonable solution was to enjoy life while she could and go out in a blaze of glory. Subverted after her purification and becoming the Primal Queen-she still thinks it's unlikely he can be destroyed, but that's no reason to not try.
  • Determinator: When Kerrigan wants something done, it gets done, and anything that tries to stop her is in for an unpleasant experience.
  • Did Not Get The Guy: Despite all the sacrifices she does to save Raynor, ultimately Kerrigan doesn't end up with him. The universe is cruel to this woman. However, this is averted as of Starcraft II Legacy Of The Void.
  • Didn't See That Coming: She didn't know that Mengsk had the Xel'Naga artifact at the end of Heart Of The Swarm.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: She's the final opponent in the first Starcraft II episode, Wings of Liberty.
  • Discard and Draw: Loses her Ghost abilities after becoming infested only to gain new Zerg abilities. Then loses most of her Zerg abilities but gains new psionic abilities after being exposed to the Xel'naga artifact at the end of Wings of Liberty (it's not entirely clear if the narrative intent was to show that her psionics were this powerful before infestation, or if it was another artifact from her life as the Queen of Blades). Finally, she returns to the Swarm, and picks up new Zerg abilities, and becomes re-infested during Heart of the Swarm, she picks up some entirely new Zerg abilities (which, for one mission, are required, but she can switch back to her previous abilities afterward, subverting the "discard" part of the trope).
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Hard to notice, but in her Queen of Blades form she is barefoot. She only has two long spikes coming out of her heels to give the look that she is wearing toe-revealing high heel boots.
  • The Dragon: Serves as the Overmind's new second in command in Starcraft.
    • Co-Dragons: ...Along the Overmind's right-hand Cerebrate, Daggoth.
    • Dragon Ascendant: Rises to ruler of all Zerg over the course of Brood War.
    • Dragon with an Agenda: Even before her ascension, she made it quite clear she had her own plans aside from being a servant of the Overmind, leading her to frequently be in conflict with Zasz. In a twist, however, the Overmind didn't mind. Becomes Fridge Brilliance in Starcraft II, where we find out her having more liberty than the other leaders of the Swarm was a major part in his Thanatos Gambit to save the Zerg.
  • The Dreaded: Almost everyone in the setting is absolutely terrified by the Queen of Blades, and with good reasons, considering she is essentially the biggest mass-murderer in Koprulu's history and is personally one of the most powerful beings in the sector even without her command of its largest army. Until Amon entered the picture, she was considered the most powerful antagonist force in the setting.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Her reasons for fighting Amon despite him having "power beyond imagining"?
    Kerrigan: Because the only other option is to lay down and die.
  • Dummied Out: Kerrigan isn't a controllable player character in the campaign mode of Wings of Liberty, but the map editor still has voice quotes for a playable Kerrigan unit.
    Kerrigan: Guess what? I'm still the Queen Bitch of the Universe.
  • Evil Feels Good: When confronting Raynor right after her infestation, she informs him she genuinely feels better as a Zerg. It appeared to have been a side effect of her being brainwashed however; in Brood War, she makes it quite clear she didn't enjoy being the Swarm's slave at all.
  • Evil Overlord: Ascend to this by the end of Brood War when she becomes the Swarm's single ruler.
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: As her Queen of Blades form is a Zerg/human hybrid, this makes her part-alien in that form. In said form, she does not bother wearing any clothes, though her design subverts the trope by having bone-like exoskeletal growths over her naughty bits, and purple chitinous "skin" over almost everything else.
  • Eye Colour Change: Sarah started with green eyes, then when she became infested, they became yellow with red sclerae, which would occasionally glow a solid yellow when she was charging up an attack. Then back to green when deinfested, though they would turn yellow when she was interacting with the swarm, and still occasionally glow yellow when using her psychic abilities. Then she went Primal and they turned violet, and would glow with the same color.
  • Face–Monster Turn: Turns into a monstrous terran zerg hybrid after going evil in Starcraft.
  • Fallen Hero: One of the heroes of the Sons of Korhal who aided in the saving of many Terrans from the Zerg and Confederacy, turned into the leader of the Zerg and a mass murderer with a body count in the billions by association.
  • Fiery Redhead: Had long red hair before being infested by the zerg.
  • Fire-Forged Friend: Becomes this with Artanis during the Ulnar mission.
  • Flashback with the Other Darrin: In II, a flashback to the New Gettysburg battle from Starcraft is voiced by Kerrigan's II VA, Tricia Helfer, instead of the original VA Glynnis Talken-Campbell.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • Goes from a Terran foot soldier to the Evil Overlord of all Zerg to Physical God more powerful than anything else in the universe.
    • Becomes this meta-style too, she was originally just another character that was suppose to die after the Terran Campaign, with the focus shifted to the Overmind thereafter. The dev team liked her enough to keep her in past the campaign, and she ended up becoming one of the most iconic villains and Hero in fiction.
  • General Failure: At first. She was very overconfident in her abilities, and Tassadar could easily trick her into making foolish mistakes. This lead to the death of the episode II cerebrate.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: As a powerful psychic, her eyes glow every time she's about to unleash a wave of destruction with her mental superpowers.
    • In Wings, she has the glow on by default.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: She's the Evil Overlord "Queen of Blades" who rules over all Zerg in Brood War and Wings of Liberty. Downplayed and eventually subverted in Heart of the Swarm, where she gradually gets better over the course of the campaign.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: She started out an operative of the Confederacy, was freed and sided with Mengsk until the Zerg took her, was revived as Queen of the Zerg, was freed from the Overmind's control and helped the Protoss, was revealed to be using them and took control of the Zerg to dominate the sector, then was freed of her infestation to be mostly human again and aided Valerian and Raynor. Heart of the Swarm shows her still swaying between Anti-Hero and Anti-Villain, finally settling on an Anti-Hero Noble Demon but until then edging on Villain Protagonist in her darker moments. By Legacy, she's settled on Face becoming a Xel'naga and choosing freedom for all.
  • Heel Realization: It's when Raynor expresses disgust at what she's become that she finally realizes how selfish and myopic her quest for revenge is, and what ultimately motivates her to spare the citizens of Korhal despite it being impractical.
  • Heroic BSoD: When she realizes that Mengsk had forsaken her and left her to die on Tarsonis as the zerg closed in on her.
  • Healing Factor: Common place amongst the Zerg, she can lose one of her "wings" and it will grow back. Being stabbed in her vital areas is more of an issue though given that she took multiple blows from a psionic Laser Blade and her own Razor Wings, there might have been some other factors that caused that.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Towards the end of her stint as a Ghost fighting for the Sons of Korhal, she chooses to trust Arcturus, against Raynor's suspicions that he may not be much better than the Confederation they're trying to overthrow, and against her own knowledge that the would-be dictator knew she was directly responsible for the deaths of his parents. Then Arcturus' predictable betrayal came...
  • Humanoid Abomination: As the Queen of Blades, she is essentially a Zerg-Terran hybrid with insanely powerful psychic powers who gets more and more like a human-shaped Overmind as the story goes on. By Heart of the Swarm, she has essentially become a Physical Goddess who hunts down and devours Eldritch Abominations to power up. In Legacy of the Void, she even becomes a Xel'Naga to boot in the penultimate mission.
  • I Am a Monster: Struggles with this.
  • I Am the Noun: Fond of "I am the Swarm", particularly in Heart of the Swarm.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Gives this as her reason for re-infesting herself in Heart of the Swarm.
    Raynor: What have you done?
    Kerrigan: What I had to...
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: The climax of Wings of Liberty has Raynor trying to free Kerrigan of Amon's influence using a Xel'Naga artifact.
    Human Kerrigan: Don't give up.
  • I Lied: To Mengsk in Brood War when she tells she didn't hold a grudge against him, she in fact hates him more than anything else in the universe because him abandoning her led to her infestation, which she describes as agonizing.
  • Informed Attribute: Kerrigan is regarded as a very powerful telepath, yet she was used as a tool by Arcturus Mengsk and Samir Duran. That being said, it could be related with Mengsk being that good a manipulator, and Duran being a Xel'Naga.
  • Jerkass: When she reveals her true colors in Brood War, oh GOD is she ever, pretty much making an effort to Troll nearly everyone she meets.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In Heart of the Swarm after being turned back to her original personality; she is bitter to get revenge on Mensgk, tends to act aggressive on both Terrans and her own Zerg minions, and still occasionally trolls people (Valerian being a noteworthy example in the first mission). However, unlike her in Brood War, she displays a softer side, tries to avoid useless casualties when she can and is more well-intentioned in the end. Specifically, she coordinates with Valerian during the invasion to minimize civilian casualties and ensure a relatively clean succession of rule over the Dominion to Valerian.
  • Kick the Dog: Turning on the Protoss in Brood War and also killing the retreating UED that were just injured soldiers.
  • The Kingslayer: Personally delivers the killing blow on Emperor Arcturus Mengsk, ending his tyranny over the sector.
  • Knife Nut: She's damn good with knives. After her transformation, they even become part of her body. She's not called the "Queen of Blades" for nothing.
  • Large Ham: As the Queen of Blades.
  • Locked into Strangeness: When she was remade into the Queen of Blades, her red hair was replaced with finger-thick, segmented tendrils which appear to be attached right to her skull. Even after being deinfested, her hair still stays this way, though she took to tying it into a ponytail again rather than letting it free. She lets it glow free again as the Primal Queen of Blades.
  • Meaningful Name: "Sarah" means princess or noblewoman, and "Kerrigan" means dusky or dark. Purely coincidental, as the creators named her after ice skater Nancy Kerrigan on a whim.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Invoked in Heart of the Swarm. After regaining her humanity and then turning back to the Swarm and using them to massacre Protoss colonists on Kaldir and destroy the Dominion fortress on Char including killing Warfield, Kerrigan explains to her allies that there's no going back after this: if being restored to human form eased anyone's fears, now they have new reasons to fear her, and they won't give her a second chance now that she's spit on the first one.
  • More Than Mind Control: Amon spent years subtly influencing Kerrigan and the rest of the Swarm into destroying the other races. Kerrigan is eventually freed of this influence after being deinfested at the end of Wings of Liberty.
  • Ms. Fanservice: As a human she's usually seen in a Spy Catsuit, and in her infested form she's a Cute Monster Girl. Both forms are quite shapely, and though infested her face is still that of a beautiful human, just colored differently.
  • My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That:
    • If you click on her Ghost unit enough times she sighs:
      Kerrigan: Doesn't take a telepath to know what you're thinking.
    • Her first meeting with Raynor and seeing into his mind. Novels would later reveal he was checking out her legs.
      Kerrigan: You pig!
    • And in Heart of the Swarm:
      Kerrigan: Really, Jim? Six years later and you're still a pig.
      Raynor: What can I say? Old habits die hard.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: You probably don't wanna mess with someone named the "Queen of Blades".
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! / Unwitting Instigator of Doom: After infiltrating Niadra aboard the Protoss ship, Kerrigan gives Niadra the command to erradicate the Protoss, though she apparently doesn't limit her directive to the ones inside the ship, and then forgets about Niadra after the ones inside are eliminated; Niadra simply takes her orders as meaning "erradicate all Protoss in the universe", and later still seeks to fulfill this given mission long after Kerrigan is gone.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Though technically nude as the Queen of Blades, her nipples are not visible even in close-up shots; persumably they're hidden under the purple skin-like chitin that covers her breasts.
  • Noble Demon: In Heart of the Swarm. For all of Kerrigan's talk of giving up her humanity, she ultimately shows herself to be an honorable person after being freed of Greater-Scope Villain Amon's influence.
  • Not Quite Back to Normal: Even after being deinfested at the end of Wings of Liberty, she retains her hair tendrils and the ability to control the Zerg.
  • One-Man Army: In the original game and Wings of Liberty, her infested form moves quickly, does massive damage, and has a variety of spells to handle enemies with. Her spells in Heart of the Swarm, used correctly, allow her to solo some parts of the level, and she will rack up dozens upon dozens of kills. One of her unit's move/attack quotes (human form only) references this trope verbatim.
    • There's even an achievement during one mission for having Kerrigan rack up 500 kills.
  • Orcus on His Throne: She pretty much keeps quiet after Brood War, as evidenced in some of the novels. Although part of what she does is look for ways to make the Swarm stronger.
    • Averted for the most part in the sequel; she personally leads the Swarm in the search of the Xel'Naga artifacts in Wings of Liberty, and the only missions in Heart of the Swarm to not involve her on the field are ones where her presence would go against the objectives or where she is unavailable.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Legacy of the Void ends with our favorite psychic assassin-turned-mass-murdering Half-Human Hybrid transformed into the last xel'naga, an omnipotent Energy Being with a body and flowing wings made of pure golden light. The first thing she does in her new form is kill Amon, the setting's resident Satanic Archetype. Once that's over and done, she takes to seeding dead corners of the universe with life to atone for her past atrocities. Doesn't get much more different than that.
  • Pet the Dog: In Heart of the Swarm she gets some such as allowing the wounded Dominion soldiers that don't pose a threat to her to escape and holding back on assaulting Mengsk' palace to allow the civilians to escape.
  • Physical God: First as the Primal Queen of Blades, then taken much further as Xel'naga.
  • Power Echoes: After becoming the powerful Queen of Blades, she speaks and uses telepathy at the same time, making it appear her voice is echoing.
  • Power Gives You Wings: Aside from the Symbolic Wings she uses in her Zerg forms, once she becomes a Xel'Naga in Legacy of the Void, she becomes an energy being with actual wings.
  • The Power of Hate: Heavily implied to be the only thing keeping her from being consumed during her evolution into the Primal Queen of Blades. Abathur, the guy who spins DNA for a job is going through all the reasons why Kerrigan isn't strong enough to survive. Her reply is that her hate is strong enough.
  • Pragmatic Hero: After her Heel–Face Turn. Both her actions and her advice to Artanis in Legacy show she isn't afraid of doing morally questionable things if she feels it's necessary:
    "Gather allies, subjugate enemies, do whatever you can to ensure victory. Survival is never pretty"
  • Pragmatic Villainy: In Brood War, she keeps her word to Arcturus and does help him free Korhal from the UED... because this allows her to weaken the UED's graps on the sector. As soon as the planet is freed, she promptly turns on him.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Her telepathy is strong enough for her to not bother with this most of the time, but in Heart of the Swarm she does it a few times to give orders to far-away Hive Queens that wish to rejoin the Swarm. Seeing how these queens may well be on the far side of the sector, it's understandable that even Sarah needs to put in a bit of effort and concentration to communicate with them.
  • Psychic Powers: Rates a 12 out of 10 on the PI scale, giving her a wide range of mental superpowers. After becoming Primal Queen of the Zerg, her power level becomes "unclassifiable".
    • Telepathy: Like all Ghosts, she can read and project her own thoughts into others' minds. As the Queen of Blade, this ability is what allows her to control her Zerg and see through their eyes.
    • Invisibility: After being infested, she uses her psychic powers instead of a Spy Catsuit cloaking device to disappear. This power no longer is available in Starcraft II, not that she still needs it at this point.
    • Mind over Matter: Can levitate objects and people. In-game, this power manifest through various abilities, including telekinetically crushing things, or paralyze enemy squads while making them levitate in the air.
    • Mind Rape: It's implied she was subjected to this while in the chrysalis. As the Queen of Blades, she was able to use this ability to submit and manipulate Raszagal, a Protoss matriarch.
    • Power Floats: She displays the ability to fly in a cutscene of Heart of the Swarm.
    • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Used them to contact Raynor and Mengsk for help while in the chrysalis. Mostly unintentional.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Her psychic powers are such that she can pretty much annihilate everything that she doesn't take apart in melee combat, her Primal Zerg form is this even more so, with her emergence from the cocoon resulting in a massive energy storm that can be seen from orbit. And those two don't even hold a candle to her Xel'Naga form, where she basically becomes completely unstoppable and simply swats aside everything that opposes her.
    • Shock and Awe: She has Psionic Storm in the base game, and attacks with psionic bolts in Heart of the Swarm.
    • Fantastic Nuke: Her Apocalypse power in Heart of the Swarm, which allows her to deliver a blast as powerful as a tactical nuke game-wise, with the added bonus of being Friendly Fireproof. And then, her transformation into a Xel'Naga upgrades it to a form that cleans up the entire damn map.
    • Your Head A-Splode: What her unrestricted psionic power did to her mother when she was a child. She later does this, willingly, to Mengsk at the climax of Heart of the Swarm. It managed to blow out the entire office.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Her upgraded form in Heart of the Swarm glows purple, to show she's even stronger than before when she glowed orange-yellow.
    (after being completely re-infested) I always did look better in purple.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: Three times, in fact. When Kerrigan as appointed as a ghost by the Confederacy, they had to change the 1-10 psionic power scale so that she could be rated as a 10. After being infested, the scale does not change, but she's rated as 12 (Though 12 is used just to describe her psionic power is over 10). When she becomes Primal in Heart of the Swarm, Terran Adjuntants simply don't try rating her anymore.
  • Redemption Promotion: Her being freed of Amon's programming of the zerg and reawakening of her more empathetic qualities also marked her becoming an even more powerful version of the Queen of Blades—whereas before she just controlled the Swarm, now she is the Swarm—a true successor to the Overmind.
  • Redemption Equals Life: In the last cinematic of Heart Of The Swarm, it's because she truly changed for good that Raynor decides to help her, and eventually saves her from being killed by Mengsk.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: In the latter half of Heart of the Swarm onward. While Kerrigan technically is heroic by that point, she is shown to still not be above taunting her opponents, and very willing to get her hands dirty if needed.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: She re-infests herself in order to save Jim Raynor. The newly re-infested Queen of Blades is a significantly more moral person than the old version, but Raynor leaves her anyway after she saves him. Tear Jerker, that. And then Double Subverted in a bittersweet way: while Raynor eventually decides to help her in annihilating Arcturus Mengsk, he then lets her go, for she is the Heart of the Swarm.
    • Sarah was one of the Confederate Ghosts responsible for killing Arcturus Mengsk's entire family, but after her defection to the Sons of Korhal he said that he had finally come to forgive her. He had not.
  • Restraining Bolt: Her Ghost conditioning limited her psychic abilities before it was removed.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Her goal in Heart of the Swarm is to kill Arcturus Mengsk, the man who betrayed her in the original Starcraft, even if she has to go through his entire interstellar empire.
    Kerrigan: Armies will shatter, worlds will burn. Now, at last, on this world, vengeance shall be mine.
  • She's Got Legs: At least that's what Raynor was thinking when the two first met.
  • She Who Fights Monsters: In Heart of the Swarm, when she learns of Jim's supposed demise at Mengsk's hands, she willingly re-infests herself and becomes the Queen of Blades once more. As the reborn Queen, she leads the swarm against Mengsk's forces and protoss alike, destroying everything in her way. Subverted in that, while ruthless to her enemies, she retains her morality: her heart still beats for Jim, and she gives Valerian multiple chances to evacuate civilians on Korhal before launching her final invasion.
  • Shoot the Dog: In Heart of the Swarm, she infests Lessara with a Chest Burster parasite and uses her to decimate a whole ship of Protoss. She had no choice, however, seeing how said protoss would have warned their planet of her presence, which would have doomed her. Moreover, she clearly doesn't take any pleasure in doing that.
  • Split-Personality Merge: At the end of Heart of the Swarm it's pretty obvious that Sarah has embraced the 'Kerrigan' part of her personality and is able to swap between the warlike Horde of Alien Locusts Hive Queen and diplomatic semi-relatable figurehead with said Horde of Alien Locusts as backup at will. Raynor even tells her to "put her warface on" during the assault on Mengsk's palace.
  • Spy Catsuit: Her Ghost uniforms in Starcraft and Heart of the Swarm are skintight Future Spandex made for stealth missions.
  • The Starscream: Never seemed entirely loyal during her enslavement to the Overmind, which concerned the other cerebrate, yet in Brood War, Kerrigan claimed she was under his control.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: In the original Starcraft, she still wears some of the parts of her Ghost hostile environment suit that survived her infestation. She seemingly discards them at the end of the game, as there's usually no sign of them in other media.
  • Super Strength: In the final Heart Of The Swarm cinematic, she uses her claws to push a metal door open.
  • Symbolic Wings: Her Queen of Blades form has large claws on her back that have the approximate shape of a bat wing's bone structure.
  • Thong of Shielding: In her Queen of Blades form, she's technically naked, and yet she has a thong-shaped chitinous growth running along where her gluteal cleavage would be.
  • Took a Level in Badass: To the extreme and still gaining more levels over the course of the story.By the end of Heart of the Swarm she's a Physical God who controls the Swarm with the power of her personality alone and can blow up a base by looking at it funny. Legacy of the Void eventually ditched the physical part as well by turning her into a virtually omnipotent xel'naga, an Energy Being with the power to create life from nothing and generally do pretty much anything she damn well pleases. And to think Sarah was a Shrinking Violet as a kid.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Goes from a friend to the backstabbing "Queen Bitch of the Universe" in Starcraft.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Goes from a Manipulative Bastard to a Noble Demon over the course of Starcraft II, going from massacring a civilian Protoss research colony to the last in the beginning of the campaign to actively working alongside Valerian to minimize civilian casualties during the invasion of Korhal as much as possible and ensuring a smooth transition of power to Valerian to avoid unnecessary chaos. This is what persuades Raynor that despite being reinfested, Kerrigan is more human inside than she had ever been even as a Ghost all the way back in the original Starcraft.
  • Tron Lines: Her futuristic Spy Catsuit in Heart of the Swarm features glowing yellow lines running up and down it.
  • Tranquil Fury: Her rampage through the evacuated Augustgrad and into the citadel to kill Mengsk is rife with this.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Twice. First, by Mengsk, against the Confederation; then, by the Overmind, against Mengsk and humanity in general.
  • Uncanny Valley: In 1, her infested cameo has her jaws an inch or two forewards, like a chimpanzees, and markings on her ckeeks that look like gills.
  • The Vamp: She convinces Jim Raynor to rescue Mengsk from standing trial with the UED, and then has both Jim and Fenix help her and Mengsk defeat the UED as well.
  • Villainous Breakdown: During the final mission of Wings of Liberty, "All In", she goes from smug taunts to screaming she'll annihilate everyone as the Power Nullifier you've acquired gets closer to crushing her.
  • Villainous BSoD: When she is rejected by Jim Raynor on him seeing her primal zerg form and realize she is in charge of the zerg forces, she closes her mind off from the entire swarm and will scarcely speak a work during her Heel Realization.
    Sarah: Oh, Jim. There are no words.
  • Villain Protagonist: In the Zerg campaign of Brood War. Still a bit at the beginning of Heart of the Swarm, but she gets better as the campaign goes on.
  • Viral Transformation: Textbook example with her infestation creating one of the most powerful entities in the series.
  • Voice of the Legion: After her transformation into a Zerg, her voice echoes when she speaks.
  • Volcanic Veins: Her Queen of Blades form has glowing veins running along her skin in Starcraft II.
  • Waif-Fu: Ever since she got her primal form, Kerrigan's fighting style has become incredibly over the top. Including leaps of several stories high that usually end with an entire army exploding.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Her coming Back from the Dead as a Zerg in Starcraft, complete with the Overmind giving a Wham Line with the announcement of her name as she emerged from the chrysalis.
    • From her perspective, the scene on the prison ship. When she gives Raynor the opportunity to kill her, Raynor instead spares her, but it turns out it was only due to the Prophecy he learned from Zeratul (that and he can't really bring himself to kill her). The wham comes when she realizes Raynor sees her as a Broken Pedestal.
  • Winged Humanoid: Her Infested form sports Absurdly Sharp Razor Wings.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity:
    • She is one of the most powerful forces in the galaxy after her infestation... doesn't do much for her sense of morality though. Word of God mentions that while the Queen of Blades and Sarah Kerrigan are most definitely the same person, while she was infested Kerrigan was heavily influenced by massive amounts of psionic energy and zerg mutagen affecting her at the cellular level.
    • Even when returned to human form, she still remains dangerously unstable, requiring Raynor to act as her Morality Chain.
    • Subverted by the end of Heart. Her powers reached new heights compared to her Queen Bitch days, but thanks to her transformation into a Primal Zerg removing Amon's influence, she is generally quite sane.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: As a villain. This woman has been through more hell than any other character in the franchise, most of the people she cared about and trusted either betrayed her or are now dead, and a significant portion of the galaxy hates her and wants her dead. In the novel Flashpoint, Kerrigan despairs that either as a Ghost or as an Infested Terran, "everything I touch dies", showing how utterly broken she is inside when she's not being an antagonistic force. She is firmly this in Heart of the Swarm, her belief that Raynor, the one person she had left and who loved her and had never betrayed her, has been killed by Mengsk, pretty much shatters her humanity and drives her back to full-time villainy until she learns he's still alive.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Plays a mean game of it over the course of Brood War, manipulating her enemies against each other and securing more power for herself in the process, until she commands the Zerg without dissent and all her enemies are dead or limping away in defeat.
  • You Don't Look Like You:
    • Her original Design, gave her wild dreadlocks basically going all over the place, a paler brown face, and an overall brown coloration. Her brood war design keeps the dreadlocks, and is otherwise a Green-Skinned Space Babe in a revealing black get-up. Her latest incarnation is the purple one you see above.
    • Veteran players returning to the Remastered version of the original Starcraft will go through a brief adjustment phase due to significant changes to Sarah's unit portrait. Her StarCraft II incarnation looked quite a bit different from the original one, and the remaster did a good job at streamlining the two character designs between the two games.
  • You Fool!: She says that a few times.
  • You Have Out Lived Your Usefulness:
    • The moment she has defeated the UED on Korhal with the Dominion's help, she turns on Mengsk, Raynor and Fenix.
    • Heart of the Swarm has her playing this trope straight when she abandons Niadra, but otherwise defying it; Stukov expects her to kill him once their alliance has reached its goal, but she instead spares him and allows him to stay in the Swarm, and she angrily declines when Zagara suggests turning on Raynor's Raiders.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go:
    • Zeratul says this to Kerrigan, who responds that the Matriarch is free to do as she pleases (after having mind-controlled her).
    • Averted in Heart of the Swarm, where she grants mercy several times, first allowing the Dominion's soldiers on Char to escape after Warfield's pleading. However, it is only played straight when she just kills Warfield. She later makes the Swarm land outside the capital city of Korhal to give the civilian populace a chance at evacuation. She keeps her word both times, technically.

    The Overmind
"Awaken my child, and embrace the glory that is your birthright. Know that I am the Overmind; the eternal will of the Swarm, and that you have been created to serve me."

The Overmind was the Hive Mind of the Zerg, directing their actions. It created Cerebrates who acted as its generals, and they in turn created overlords, who control the Zerg directly. Designed by the Xel'Naga to be the perfect creation of the Zerg, the Overmind rebelled against them and nearly succeeded in wiping out their race. It then turned to space, ravaging worlds and stealing the DNA of the native inhabitants and collecting them into the swarm. The Overmind eventually discovered the Protoss, and desperately wanted them in its fold because they, too, were creations of the Xel'Naga, and it believed that taking to Protoss into the swarm would make the Zerg "perfect". Between Tassadar, Zeratul, Fenix, and Raynor, the Overmind was destroyed, leaving the zerg in disarray.

A second Overmind was formed in Brood War, but it was an Overmind, not the Overmind, and was an entirely different entity who was treated more like a MacGuffin than an actual character. Formed by the merging of several Cerebrates, it had the power to control the Swarm, but it didn't fully mature and so could not control them as efficiently as the original. The UED was able to take control of the Overmind using a combination of medical treatments and psychics, and used their control to enslave the Zerg to fight for them. With the reluctant aid of Zeratul, Kerrigan destroyed the second Overmind and seized full control of the Swarm.

Provides examples of:

  • A God Am I: He never claims to be a god, but his manner of speech is very Old Testament, as shown in the above quote, and this is helped by his booming, echoing voice. He definitely considers himself this for the Zerg, constantly referring to them as "my creations/creatures" and "a testament to my glory."
  • And I Must Scream: Starcraft II reveals that it was sentient but did not have free will, and was unable to rebel against its corrupted biological programming. Tassadar (or rather the Xel'Naga Ouros) described it as screaming in the prison of its own mind.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In the first Zerg campaign. The Swarm successfully invades Aiur and he successfully moves to the planet.
  • Benevolent Boss: While being considered by other species to be the Big Bad of the game, the Overmind treats the Zerg as beloved children; he is respectful toward his Cerebrates, revive them when they get killed, and his entire motives are focused on doing what is best for the Swarm as a whole.
  • Big Bad: In the first game. Not by choice apparently.
  • Big Good:
    • To the Zerg, as their benefactor and master, as his actions were taken in the name of giving the Swarm a fighting chance to stop Amon.
    • Ouros considers him as well as his plan to put Kerrigan in charge of the Swarm would give the universe the chance to defeat Amon, even though the Overmind himself only cared about the Zerg — the other forms of life surviving was just a bonus, and a bonus the Zerg could eventually take advantage of, at that.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Amon calls him "The Great Betrayer" and as it turned out the Overmind ultimately had no intention of following his creator's goals.
  • Eldritch Abomination: It's an utterly massive mess of tentacles, chitin plating and pulsing flesh. In Starcraft it's building-sized, but in Starcraft II its corpse takes up a space on the map so big you could build your entire base in it and have room left over.
    • While it has (or builds) a body of its own, it is actually the total sum and nexus of the zerg Hive Mind.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He treats the Cerebrates like his children, congratulating them when they succeed, expressing satisfaction to see them grow up stronger and even giving Kerrigan some amount of liberty in her decisions. He also seems infuriated when Zeratul killed Zasz. According to Word of God, his plan to defeat the Hybrids was solely because they would destroy all of his Zerg.
  • Evil Sounds Deep/Evil Is Hammy: From his very first spoken line, you know he is your god and you will kneel before him.
  • Final Boss: For a given value of such. Destroying the Overmind is the final mission objective of the original campaign, but it's just a unique building and has no ability to defend itself beyond the massive amounts of Zerg nesting around it.
  • Giant Eye of Doom: Its menu portrait. The novels and concept art reveal this to be a separate creature that it sees through, but in StarCraft II, the brain in the center of its body was made into a giant eye.
  • Good All Along: The entire first game is it committing Suicide by Cop in order to allow Kerrigan a shot at defeating Amon, because if it stayed Hive King, it would have been compelled to eat everything in the universe and then be forcibly hybridized with the Protoss.
  • Go Out with a Smile: When Zeratul examines the Overmind's final thoughts, he notices that one of his final emotions was a feeling of peace and satisfaction.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Surprisingly, the Overmind planned its own death on Aiur solely so Kerrigan could take over the Swarm and defy Amon's plan for them, saving the Zerg (and likely unintentionally, the Protoss and Terrans,) from their eventual annihilation by the Hybrid.
  • Hive Queen: The original force to control the Zerg Hive Mind.
  • Living MacGuffin: The Second Overmind. It does not make an appearance as a sentient entity in Brood War, unlike the first one, and is just treated as something that has to be controlled or destroyed.
  • Made of Iron:
    • He has the most HP of anything in the original Starcraft. Even at the end of Legacy of the Void, the Overmind's body is still largely intact despite the passage of time, being used as raw material for Amon's host form, and getting hit by the guns of the entire Protoss armada.
    • The Second Overmind, after taking enough damage when it's in its infant stage in Char, regresses into an invulnerable cocoon.
  • Mind Hive: In a flip of being in control of the Hive Mind of the Zerg, it's implied that the Cerebrates are different aspects of the Overmind's personality given independence. This is why Kerrigan is such a distinctly separate entity among their ranks, because she has her own personality and is fully independent, but not enough to betray the Overmind. Turns out this is precisely the idea, since the Overmind created her so she could free the Swarm from Amon's influence that had corrupted the Overmind.
  • Moral Myopia: The Overmind meant well in seeking to prepare the universe for the coming of Amon. The catch being that it's also done in the interests of the Zerg, with all that implies.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Starcraft II reveals it let itself die so that control of the Swarm would pass to Kerrigan, who would be able to withstand the corruption of Amon on the Swarm and fight back against him, which the Overmind could not.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: For all his talk, he doesn't appear to have any actual means of fighting (when his death was approaching, the most he could do was attempt a Villain: Exit, Stage Left). In gameplay terms, he's basically just a really durable detector building.
  • Papa Wolf: He seems honestly outraged when Zeratul kills Zasz, and this is partially what motivates him into invading Aiur. According to Word of God, his reasons for defying Amon is because he foresaw that the zerg would be enslaved and consumed by the hybrids and he couldn't bear to let them suffer that fate. In Wings of Liberty, he refers to them as "my zerg" in the tone of a mourning father.
  • Power Echoes: His voice has a deep reverberation to it.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Surprisingly enough; even though he technically is the Big Bad in the first game, one of the main reasons he is such a fearsome foe is because his decisions, when seen from the Zerg's point of view, actually are logical and good for the sake of the Swarm as a whole. A stark contrast with the corrupt Confederacy, Arturus Mengsk or the Protoss Conclave.
  • Take Over the World: The Protoss homeworld of Aiur. And any other world it pleases, really.
    • Thanatos Gambit: It is strongly implied in the Protoss mini-campaign in Wings of Liberty that the Overmind's reason for invading Aiur was it wanted the protoss to kill it, so Kerrigan could take command of the Swarm free of Amon's influence.
  • Time Abyss: His age is never given, he's implied to be thousands of years old at the very least.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: It was forced to by Amon.
  • Villainous Valor: Despite being an Eldritch Abomination trying to take over the Universe, he was genuinely Benevolent Boss toward his Zerg, and eventually had enough courage to defy the Dark Voice.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Genuinely believes he's doing the other "misguided" races (and the universe in general) a favor by assimilating them.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Was forcibly enslaved by the Dark Voice into trying to commit genocide against the Protoss with the full knowledge that he and his Zerg would be wiped out once they did their job. Kerrigan was meant to be the one hope they had of breaking the Dark Voice's hold.


"Your Majesty used to store all her ideas, thoughts and plans within me."

Voiced by: Karen Strassman

Kerrigan's primary advisor in the Zerg Campaign, Kerrigan once stored her thoughts, memories and plans in her while the Queen of Blades.

Provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Her past as Amanda Haley. note 
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Tends to ask these, but since she always has the same tone of voice, it's hard to tell if she's trying to rile Kerrigan or genuinely curious. Kerrigan's responcse is either "Shut up, Izsha" or silence.
  • The Consigliere: Speaks her mind more freely than even Broodmothers, and isn't afraid to question Kerrigan. She even offers strategic advice between missions, though since Kerrigon is works toward goals outside the swarm's Blue and Orange Morality, she tends to ignore it.
  • Evil Feels Good: Strongly admires Kerrigan from her time as the Queen of Blades. Though she seems to admire her more for how powerful she made the Swarm than for her atrocious acts.
  • Mission Control: She serves much the same role as the Terran AI adjutants.
    • In the Coop Missions of Legacy of the Void, she even replaces the classic Zerg adviser when playing as one of the Zerg commanders. This was done to prevent confusion between the voices of the Zerg Queen advisor featured in the campaign or multiplayer and Zagara.
  • Mr. Exposition: Female version. She's Kerrigan's equivalent of an adjutant, and explains mission objectives and the like.
  • Non-Action Guy: Female version. Her role is one of an adviser rather than a fighter, and as a result she never takes part in a fight personally. She does, however, lead Kerrigan's protection during her transformation into the Primal Queen of Blades if you didn't get Zagara at this point.
  • The Noseless: One of the many visible modifications to her once-human body.
  • Prehensile Hair: Sort of. Her "hair" is now a set of several tentacles protruding from the top of her head. She uses them for manipulation. Her "hands," meanwhile, have fused into her body in a folded posture.
  • Reforged into a Minion: Her backstory.
  • Robo Speak: Speaks in a stilted, monotone manner.
  • Social Darwinist: A notably less evil version; she does seem to accept this as a reasoning, but rather than deduce that the weak should be crushed, this makes her concerned with making the Swarm as strong as possible so they won't be crushed.
  • Token Good Teammate: Word of God describes her as more sympathetic than Abathur, her concept "was to strike a balance between human and monster." She indeed comes out as the least sinister of Kerrigan's lieutenants (despite taking pleasure in killing and conquest), excluding perhaps Stukov.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Her body is fused into the flesh of the Leviathan, and she can't personally fight.
  • Was Once a Man: Formerly Amanda Haley, a psychic Terran medic who ended up infested by Kerrigan.


"Abathur. Evolve Swarm, spin strands and sequences. Served Overmind, then served Queen of Blades. Now serve you."

Voiced by: Steve Blum

The Genetic Library of the Swarm, he is in charge of all evolutions in the name of strengthening the Zerg. Abathur was a unique Zerg specimen created by the Overmind specifically for this purpose, who has been working for the Swarm ever since, both for the Overmind and Kerrigan under her two personae. His work consists of looking for potential creatures with useful genetic potential that can be added to the Swarm, or else alteration that could be used to improve the Swarm. He is extremely amoral in the approach of his work, uncaring about the pain of his test subjects. While he does his best to improve the Swarm, he doesn't intend to make them perfect: by his own words, perfection is impossible to attain, but to always chase it through mutation and adaptation is the only way that the Zerg can live.

Dialogue with him reveals he was the one who put Kerrigan into the chrysalis and turned her into the original Queen of Blades.

Provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: As amoral and greedy for essence as he is, he is always well-mannered and honest when talking with Kerrigan.
  • Batman Gambit: Plays a mean one in Evolution. He secretly creates a special strain of zerg, the Psyolisks, and attempts to use them to provoke a war between the three species again by means of a False Flag Operation, making it look like Zagara and the whole Swarm are behind the attacks of the Psyolisks.
  • Beige Prose: Short sentences. To point. No articles. Efficient. Need sample?
    Abathur: Spin strand backward? No. Inside out zergling. Not efficient.
  • Berserk Button:
    • When someone shows proficiency rivaling or surpassing his in genetics, he gets unnerved – something with abilities superior to his own means they could create beings that surpass the Swarm, and that is not acceptable. The primal Zerg assimilating some of the Swarm's exclusive strains for their own use prompts a suggestion they be killed, while his admission that he can't replicate an infestation as deeply ingrained as Stukov's has him suggest to Kerrigan they join with the enemy force rather than be defeated by a clearly superior foe.
    • As revealed in the novel Evolution, he hates the idea of other beings not part of the Swarm benefiting from the Swarm's genetic manipulations – in his mind, all beings manipulated by the Swarm are meant to be a part of it, and if they are not then they are abominations.
  • Big Bad: Of the Evolution novel. He's the one working to undermine Zagara's calls for peace with the other races by inciting another war to continue evolving the Swarm.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Kerrigan doesn't like him and is actually infuriated when she remembers that he was the one who turned her into the original Queen of Blades (mentioning that what she felt was essentially him taking her apart and rebuilding her). She still allows him to live because he's far too useful to her. Though if you talk to him just before the last mission, she says she seems to be growing to like him a bit. In an earlier version of Heart of the Swarm, she has him killed and replaced with a duplicate.
    • Same with Zagara at the end of Evolution. She punishes Abathur for his treachery, but spares his life because the Swarm needs its Evolution Master.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Half his humor comes from the fact he is completely unable to realize how horrible what he does to his test subjects is...
  • The Comically Serious: And the other half comes from how deadpan he is even when considering the craziest ideas and concepts.
    "Must solve Zergling lemon-juice allergy."
    "Spin strands backwards...? No. Inside-out zergling. Not efficient."
  • Creepy Monotone: He never really changes that robotic tone of his. Listen for yourself.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Why he gladly serves Kerrigan, as he becomes lost and purposeless when he has no one to serve. To him it's a Fate Worse than Death and one that he suffered from when the Overmind was killed until Kerrigan found him.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: A toned down version, but he actually seems a bit confused when Kerrigan acts nicer toward him at the end of the campaign.
    Kerrigan: You know, sometimes you're not so bad, Abathur.
    Abathur: Unclear...
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Not surprisingly, given that he's voiced by Steve Blum using his Grunt voice.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Granted, he is on the side of Kerrigan, but other than that he fits the trope in every aspect.
  • Finger-Tenting: Does a fingertips-touching variant, though since he only has two per hand, it looks a bit odd.
  • For Science!: He is perfectly aware that it's pointless to dissect Lassara, since he cannot integrate Protoss DNA to Zerg. He still wants to do it because he likes trying, as its part of his role of assimilating other species into the swarm and one of the goals of the Swarm has always been to assimilate the Protoss.
  • Giant Spider: Part of his aesthetic; Blizzard envisioned him as a huge spider who visualized DNA as webbing.
  • Humans Are Flawed: He seems to believe this, as he's unimpressed with Terran DNA. He makes exception for certain humans with psionic potential, being willing to go through the effort to assimilate them and break down most of their flawed humanity while trying to keep the psionics intact, but otherwise finds humans not worth his time. He's outright relieved when Kerrigan tells him she won't be assimilating humans anymore.
    • Not just humans, but he has this view of the Zerg as well. He seeks to perfect the species, but admits outright that it's utterly unattainable. However, it's still worth trying.
  • Hidden Depths: He can be surprisingly philosophical about some things, such as his short discourse on the concept of perfection or his views on having a driving purpose and what it means to the Swarm as a whole.
  • Lack of Empathy: A central part of his amoral characterization. When he has a failed experiment, he simply has it tossed back into a reclamation pool without bothering to Mercy Kill it first, seeing that as a waste of time, despite it still possessing an obvious pain response. He even considers making a creature with a heightened sense of pain, as it's an important sensory feedback mechanism.
  • Mad Scientist: He seems just as much in it to see what interesting things he can do with essence as to improve the zerg.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Kerrigan notes that she's never seen a being like him and asks what genetic strands he was made from. Abathur replies the Overmind made him personally for his specific purpose by combining many strands.
  • Moral Myopia: He is infuriated after seing that the Primal Zerg stole some of the Swarm's sequences, but in the following mission, Abathur creates the Swarm Host from stolen primal sequences. Not to mention that most of the evolution missions are mostly stealing sequences from various species across the sector.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Sniffs that the focused evolutions of the Swarm are much more impressive than the natural, "sloppy" evolutions of the Zerus Zerg, and advises Kerrigan to take what evolutionary strands are worth interest and wipe them out after. Though since he's the one who handles said evolutions, he's hardly un-biased.
  • Non-Action Guy: Just like Izsha, he wasn't created for fight and serves only as a geneticist. However, his dialogs mention him wandering the tunnels of Char after the death of the Overmind and in an earlier version he talks about killing and eating every creature he came across during that time. So it seems that he is pretty capable of fighting and defending himself, he's just far too useful and valuable to simply be sent on to the battlefield.
    • Heroes of the Storm supports this theory, since Abathur is a controllable hero who can fight on the front line, but is much more effective as a support unit working inside his team's base. Co-op Missions in turn had Abathur chosen as a Zerg commander precisely because, unlike Kerrigan and Zagara, he isn't one to take the front lines as a hero unit, thus he'll play differently from them.
    • In the novel Evolution, he tries to attack Zagara and is rather brutally beaten to a bloody pulp for his minor effort.
  • Not So Stoic: Implied; when Kerrigan starts remembering he was the one who turned her into the Queen of Blades, he shows subtle signs of fear by trying to dissuade her from investigating further into it. He also becomes noticeably angry when he discovers the Primal Zerg have "stolen" the Swarm's designs.
    Abathur: UNACCEPTABLE!
  • Mission Control: For the Evolution missions.
  • Obliviously Evil: The only thing that matters for him is his goal, which is to make the Swarm stronger, and he doesn't seem to realize when he's doing amoral or horrible things while chasing this goal. For example, he dissolves failed experiments into biomass alive and conscious, not because he enjoys their pain, but because he doesn't see the point in giving them a Mercy Kill—they'll become biomass either way, what's the difference?
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He actually expresses satisfaction when Kerrigan orders him to stop experimenting on human subjects, because he feels like they are uninteresting and too weak to bring anything useful, with the exception of psychics. He also doesn't seem to like being feral (i.e. without direction) as he's "less" for it.
  • Perfection Is Impossible: When Kerrigan asks him why he is striving for greatness in his work and not perfection, he replies that "perfection" depends on the situation. There's value in improvement, but to think perfection possible is to delude oneself.
    Abathur: Perfection goal that changes, never stops moving. Can chase, cannot catch.
  • Remember the New Guy?: He's apparently a longtime servant of the Swarm, but he's never been seen on screen till Heart of the Swarm.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Just like Artanis in reverse would be Sinatra, a reverse of his name would be 'ruhtaba'. Ever heard of the Ruhtaba(ga)?
  • Single Specimen Species: He's the only one of his kind among the swarm and was created to learn how to best assimilate other species by the Overmind. In his own words: "Brood of one."
  • The Smart Guy: Similarly to Egon and Swann in Wings of Liberty. He's the one in charge of Zerg evolution and DNA analysis.
  • The Spock: Has a tendency to suggest the most pragmatic or efficient course of action for Kerrigan and the Zerg to take.
  • The Starscream: In Evolution, he plots behind Zagara's back to start another war, as in his mind she has betrayed the Swarm by turning them away from war and assimilation.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: Speaks short sentences. Skips articles. Similar to Mordin Solus. Also geneticist. Likely coincidence.
  • Third-Person Person: "Person" may be a stretch of the word but, since he doesn't use pronouns, he refers himself as "subject Abathur".
  • Token Evil Teammate: Word of God describes him having an evil and diabolical nature and Kerrigan actively hates him, both for what he does and his demeanor while doing it. Really lives up to this status in the novel Evolution, where he disagrees with Zagara's decision to lead the Swarm to a path to peace with the Terrans and Protoss, and engineers a plan to instigate another war.
  • Undying Loyalty: Towards Kerrigan by the end of Heart of the Swarm. He outright calls her the Swarm's greatest leader. In his eyes, Kerrigan has led the Swarm even better than the Overmind or her old self. He does not regard Zagara in the same way.
  • Walking Spoiler: For the Evolution novel. Mainly that he's the Big Bad of it.


Voiced by: Steve Blum

A Primal Zerg leader from Zerus who willingly joins Kerrigan, hoping she will help him to get more ESSENCE to collect.

Provies examples of:

  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Although he's not as obsessed with power as the other packleaders, he's still strong enough to lead his own pack. As the other packs joined the Swarm after their respective leaders' death, it's possible that Dehaka serves as the leader of the whole primal zerg within the zerg Swarm.
  • Badass Beard: For some reason, he's apparently evolved a goatee somewhere along the line.
  • The Big Guy: He has no hive mind connection and thus cannot take advantage of the Zerg's unique upgrades, nor does he have psionic skills. What he does have is finely-evolved traits like powerful legs to leap and massive claws to rip apart enemies.
  • Bold Inflation: His. Entire. Dialogue. Especially. The word. ESSENCE.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • He just hangs around on the Leviathan as someone to talk to after joining, neither he or his pack taking an active stance in things. That is until Kerrigan assaults Korhal and finds they have a Psi Destroyer which destroys any Zerg in its range of effect via their psionic hive mind. Hm, now where are we going to find some Zerg without a connection to the hive mind....heeey!
    • Prior to him appearing in person to Kerrigan, he shows up in two levels as a "Strange Creature". Given that Blizzard is known for putting in easter eggs, especially ones in inaccessible places or runs off immediately, most people probably wrote him off as an in-joke. Several Missions later, the above happens.
  • Enlightened Self-Interest: He doesn't seek to become the supreme zerg on Zerus, reasoning that it would only make him a target, and so he chooses fighting for the strongest side as his modus operandi. He recognizes Kerrigan as stronger than any of the Broods on Zerus, so he joins her. This trope also explains why he doesn't betray Kerrigan at any point in the story despite a "side" appearing stronger than Kerrigan – each time, switching sides would end up badly for him and his brood in the long run, and he knows it. He also makes an exception for Amon, as he knows Amon will just kill him later along with everything else (which he also needs to absorb essence from).
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Sort of. As you can easily see while he's hanging around the Leviathan, his large right arm has been severed (and you can actually find it as an Easter Egg in one mission) but he still has a much smaller arm on that side. However, he's supposed to have always had four arms, one large pair and one small pair — however, he's lost his large right arm and his left small arm. If you click on him enough, he expresses bafflement as to why his biology hasn't evolved him a new arm yet. Also, one tusk is half-broken and the other one is whole.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side: He makes this clear to Kerrigan when he joins her, he's only with her because she is strong and will defeat many enemies, so he sides with her to take part and absorb more ESSENCE. Kerrigan lampshades that she's had shakier allies, and asks a couple times if he's considering leaving to join an apparently superior foe.
  • Foil: To Abathur. Both take pride in the Zerg's capability for evolution, but while Abathur focuses on precise, targeted mutations geared towards an ideal, Dehaka is more "go with the flow" - constant change without seeking perfection, to avoid stagnation.
  • Genetic Adaptation: Champions this as the strength of the Zerg, the ability to evolve and adapt to combat any enemy and survive any weapon or environment. When Kerrigan questions his distaste for a Terran base's design, Dehaka boasts he does not need technology to make walls and weapons to defend himself, he can evolve armor and claws.
  • Genius Bruiser: Despite his speech patterns and obsession with ESSENCE, Dehaka tends to wax philosophical and can be eloquent when he wants to.
    Kerrigan: Do you think the remaining Packleaders will join me now?
    Dehaka: They are a rock, a tree, a hill. They will stand against the wind. They seek power.
    Kerrigan: And you?
    Dehaka: I am a river. I will flow. I seek ESSENCE.
  • Glass Cannon: He has less health than Kerrigan, and his melee attacks put him at point blank range. However, his damage output is higher than hers, and he triples it by creating a pair of Cannon Fodder spawn.
  • Handicapped Badass: He's missing his right armnote , but he's still the leader of his pack and a hero unit with appropriate levels of power.
  • Me's a Crowd: One of his abilities in Heart of the Swarm consist of him spawning smaller versions of himself.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Has this opinion of himself, according to one Stop Poking Me! quote.
    Dehaka: All these teeth! I will evolve a toothbrush.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Unlike the other Primal Zerg Packleaders, he choses to join Kerrigan right ahead rather than fight them when it appears she's gaining in power. It is implied that he did so at great risk as his arm can be found and it's still bleeding.
  • No-Sell: Due to lacking a connection to the Swarm Zerg's Hive Mind, he is completely immune to any attack targeting it. That makes him a key element to destroy Mengsk's Psi Destroyer.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Comes with being a Primal Zerg.
  • The Social Darwinist: As with the other pack leaders.
  • What Could Have Been: According to map editor files for Dehaka, he was originally intended to have a quite different personality, leaning more towards the Dumb Muscle type, rather than the Genius Bruiser that he is in the final game.
    StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Map Editor on Dehaka: Eager and not too bright. Loud, speaks in a yell.
  • Worthy Opponent: Primal Zerg seek this as part of their nature, but Dehaka talks about it a lot. When Kerrigan talks about terrans, Dehaka mentions he'll consume their ESSENCE and discover for himself if they are worthy.
  • You Are Who You Eat: Like all Primal Zerg, Dehaka can consume the ESSENCE of enemies to grow stronger. As a Co-op Commander, he can devour individual enemies – up to and including Hybrids, Colossi, battlecruisers, and even leviathans – and can even temporarily gain abilities based on the traits of the unit he devours, from extra armor and faster attack speed to bonus damage and reduced cooldowns.
  • Your Size May Vary: He's a lot bigger in when used in Death From Above than when he appears in the Leviathan. He can get bigger still as a Co-Op commander, to the point that he's invariably Kaiju-level big by the time of the endgame. A cheesy musical cue like something from a monster movie even plays when he reaches his maximum level.

    Alexei Stukov 

Vice Admiral Alexei Stukov
"My eyes are burning!"
Click the note to see how he looked as a Terran.note 
"You should know that we represent not one of your ragtag peasant militias, but the combined might of the United Earth Directorate."

Voiced by: Unknown in Starcraft and Victor Brandt in Starcraft II

Alexei Stukov (occasionally spelled "Alexi", though the former is the correct Russian spelling) is the second-in-command of the UED fleet. Throughout the campaign he advises DuGalle, and unlike his commander is not taken in by Duran's slick talking and ignores an order to destroy a valuable piece of Confederate equipment Duran tricked DuGalle into having destroyed. He was murdered when Duran tricked DuGalle into thinking Stukov had betrayed him, and his dying words were to beg his friend to finish the job.

Sometime after his death, Stukov's body was recovered by unknown forcesnote  and he was infested and reanimated, taking control of a Zerg Brood. Raynor and a Protoss named Taldarin rescue him with experimental nanobots, and the human and revived Stukov fled with Raynor's forces. Stukov was given to the Moebius Foundation to study the infestation cure, but over time the cure failed and his infestation took hold again. Alone and embittered as he became a lab rat for Moebius, Stukov eventually contacted Kerrigan to request her aid in destroying the lab where he had been kept, and afterwards joined the Zerg Swarm, leading an army of infested Terrans.

Provides examples of:

  • And Then John Was a Zombie: He and DuGalle fight the Zerg, only for him to be killed, captured, and infested to become one of the Zerg's most powerful agents.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: His special ability in Heart of the Swarm saps the armor rating of targets and does damage.
  • Back from the Dead: Via infestation.
  • Badass Beard: Wears a beard very similar to Raynor's, closely trimmed around the mouth.
  • Best Served Cold: It takes six years until the time of Legacy of the Void, but he eventually gets his revenge on Duran.
    "Hello, Duran. Do you remember what you did to me?"
  • Body Horror: Heart of the Swarm allows his infested form to be shown in full 3D detail. It's as unpleasant as you might expect from infestation.
  • Burial in Space: His funeral has his coffin ejected into space.
  • Characterization Marches On: In Starcraft II he's a far more cynical, bitter, and shady character than the honorable and proud vice-admiral of the UED he was in Brood War. Completely justified by the unspeakable Trauma Conga Line he experienced between games; no one could go through what Stukov did and come out the same person for it.
  • Commanding Coolness: He ran a group of mercenaries while hiding his infested nature. He also attempted to control a zerg swarm, but his lack of understanding of the zerg limited his effectiveness.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: He kills Duran/Narud in his true Xel'naga form with a psychic blast.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Gets revenge by killing Duran in his true Xel'naga form five years after Duran killed him in his human form. Stukov got the last laugh.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: He thinks fighting Amon to the bitter end sounds like a fantastic idea.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: To DuGalle. Unfortunately, he's the reason why the UED fleet started out successful.
  • Enemy Mine: With Kerrigan in Heart of the Swarm, he acknowledges they were once enemies but now they have a mutual enemy in Narud and the Dominion. He fully expects to be killed after he's done helping her, but Kerrigan allows him to remain and Stukov accepts, since he has nowhere else to go.
  • Exact Words: He sent Ghosts to "facilitate the Disrupter's disassembly" and later told Admiral Dugalle that the Disrupter was "accounted for." Which was true, as far as it went...
  • Final Speech: After being shot by Duran:
    ...Gerard... old friend... You do indeed have a traitor in your midst. But it's not me. Duran. He has been playing us both from the start. He convinced you to destroy the Psi Disruptor, even though it was our best chance at defeating the Zerg. And then on Aiur, he allowed the Zerg to overrun us even as we had the fugitives in our grasp. I came here... to activate the one hope we have of defeating them... and you killed me for it (wheezing laugh). Duran is your enemy, Gerard. I suspect (gasp for breath) that he may even be infested, as well. Use the Disruptor, Gerard. (struggling to talk) Finish our operation. Let my death have at least some meaning!
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: In Heart of the Swarm, with a dash of Fireball Eyeballs.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: This is actually addressed in the instructions manual, that Stukov is the smarter of the two. And it shows. The UED mission would likely have succeeded if Stukov had been in charge.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Heart of the Swarm includes this line as a Stop Poking Me! quote.
    "Some days I miss Vodka... Like today, for example."
  • Ironic Echo: When Duran kills Stukov, he says "Say goodnight, Stukov". Infested Stukov throws it back into Duran/Narud's face when he gets revenge.
    Stukov: I've come to say goodnight you son of a bitch.
  • The Lancer: Plays as this in one mission in Heart of the Swarm, helping to de-power Narud for Kerrigan while she's busy fighting Narud in a Beam-O-War.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Lampshaded and invoked, but subverted. Once his mission chain is finished in Heart of the Swarm, Stukov assumes Kerrigan will kill him shortly to tie up the last loose end. Kerrigan allows him to leave anytime he wants, then invites him to remain with the Swarm since he says he has nowhere to go.
  • Mook Maker: He can create Infested Terrans in Heart of the Swarm.
  • More Than Mind Control: After being freed from the Zerg, he makes he clear that he wanted no such thing, but joins Raynor & co. anyway.
  • Not So Different: This is how Kerrigan feels toward him in Heart of the Swarm; as a result, she sympathizes with him and offers him a place in the Swarm when he has nowhere else to go.
  • Nice Hat: He absolutely puts everyone else in the galaxy to shame hat-wise.
  • Poor Communication Kills: He could have done a better job explaining the Psi Disruptor situation to Admiral DuGalle. Heck, the whole UED-Dominion conflict could have been avoided if they would only talk to each other, as evident from their ill-fated alliance against Kerrigan at the very end of the game.
  • Psychic Powers: He is extremely subtly implied to have these, unwittingly. It might even have been why he was infested. Heart of the Swarm shows he definitely has these, though how much is due to infestation is unknown.
  • Red Right Hand: Left Infested Claw in Heart of the Swarm. In another one of his Stop Poking Me! quotes he notes that "These spiky things are great for scratching your back."
  • Russian Guy Suffers Most: And not just all that happens in the base game and Resurrection IV, Heart of the Swarm shows he's since been re-infested and used as a lab rat by Narud for a few years.
    Stukov: Let's recap. I was betrayed and killed, shot into space, captured by the zerg, resurrected and infested, cured, given to Moebius to research the protoss cure, and was instead experimented on as the cure slowly failed. Everyone up to speed? Good.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: He really didn't need to die to tell DuGalle what Duran was doing, or even go off on his own to make it look like a betrayal. There's a few hints DuGalle is being mentally manipulated by Duran, but still, there had to be a better way for Stukov to bring him to his senses.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: Heart of the Swarm shows that he's still wearing what's left of his UED officer's uniform, complete with Commissar Cap.
  • Tranquil Fury: In contrast to Kerrigan's Hot-Blooded nature, Stukov is significantly more subdued about his vengeance. Although he wants it just as badly.
  • Trauma Conga Line: His death in Brood War was just the start of one. See Russian Guy Suffers Most for a quick rundown.
  • Viral Transformation: Like all infested Terrans, it radically altered his personality, although his original identity like Kerrigan remains intact. In Heart of the Swarm, Abathur notes the degree of Stukov's transformation is so great, it's second only to Kerrigan, and the combination of Zerg and Terran DNA is something even he can't replicate.
  • Vodka Drunkenski: Implied by Du Galle in the intro. "Your vodka can wait Alexei." One of his portrait animations in the original game has him taking a whiff of a glass of wine and smiling while one of his Stop Poking Me! quotes in the sequel is "Some days, I miss vodka. Like today, for example".
  • We Will Meet Again: Invokes it on behalf of the UED, telling Kerrigan in Heart of the Swarm they will return to the sector someday.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: A rare example where it actually plays in his favour. In Heart of the Swarm, he is well-aware of the Queen of Blade's treacherous nature, and fully expects Kerrigan to execute him once he's no longer needed, something which he accepts for the sake of revenge. Fortunately for him, Kerrigan has already gone through Character Development and become a Noble Demon at this point; as a result, she feels empathy for him, spares him and offers him a place in the Swarm when he admits he has nowhere to go.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Acknowledged — even if he could somehow get back to Earth and see his wife and children again, there's no place there for an infested terran. Kerrigan says she won't stop him from leaving, but would recommend against him doing so, rather than risk drawing their attention.


"My brood shall aid you, Cerebrate, should you require assistance."

Voiced by: Unknown

The right hand of the Overmind and one of its greatest Cerebrates, having control of the Tiamat Brood. Daggoth was a formidable opponent, as he commanded his swarm with valor and ferocity, and was powerful enough to give orders to the other Cerebrates. After the death of the First Overmind, Daggoth gained control over approximately half of the Zerg Swarm. He rallied several other Cerebrates to form a new Overmind, and helped gain control over many Broods to oppose the rogue Kerrigan, but they quickly fell under the control of the United Earth Directorate.

Provides examples of:

  • Demoted to Extra: Ironically, while Brood War sees him as a Dragon Ascendant, he ends up being this trope. The story with regards to the Zerg focuses on Kerrigan and the formation of the second Overmind, not the cerebrates this time. Despite being in a position to be treated as a primary antagonist, Daggoth never appears even once, and is only mentioned in one mission to establish he's the leader of the Zerg now. After that he's swiftly forgotten.
  • The Dragon: The Overmind's right-hand Cerebrate.
  • Dragon Ascendant: When the Overmind died, he took command of the Swarm in Brood War.
  • Dragon Their Feet: He's one of the few Cerebrates to survive the death of the two Overminds. His brood was trying to protect the first one, but no one thought of killing him directly. Word of God is Kerrigan tracked him down and killed him after Brood War.
  • Elite Mooks: The Hunter Killers. The only time you even get them is when he gives them to you, but they are far and away some of the best units in the campaign. Hydralisks are strong enough already, the Hunter Killers are Hydralisks with all of the Hydralisk's upgrades, as well as increased HP, armor and damage.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Brood War never explained what happened to him (although it implied that he had merged with the other cerebrates to form the second Overmind), so Blizzard had to clarify he was killed by Kerrigan after the Brood War.

"You dare threaten a Cerebrate? You will be the doom of us all!"

Voiced by: Bill Roper

Cerebrate of the Garm Brood and one of the Overmind's trusted lieutenants. Sniveling and distrustful, he had an intense dislike for Kerrigan and urged the Overmind not to let her influence them too much. He was killed by Zeratul, being the first cerebrate to ever be truly killed.

Provides examples of:

  • Cassandra Truth: Zasz says that Kerrigan will be "the doom of us all" (that is, the Zerg) when she tells him not to question her. Zasz himself dies by the end of the mission thanks to Kerrigan's pride getting the best of her, while in Brood War Kerrigan kills the second Overmind and the surviving Cerebrates.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: He wasn't — he was worried Kerrigan was too independent and powerful to be controlled, and when the Overmind died she took control of the Swarm and killed the Cerebrates.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Killed off-screen by the hand of Zeratul.
  • Killed Off for Real: The first Cerebrate to die permanently when previously they could have their personalities reincarnated in new bodies.
  • Mook Lieutenant: A sniveling and loyal toady who yells at Kerrigan for disobeying orders, contrasting Daggoth's more reserved and reasonable approach.
  • The Smart Guy: Provides recon data and advice to the player on missions.
  • Smug Snake: He is absolutely secure in the superiority of the Swarm and that Kerrigan's independence will be punished as disobedience.
  • Undying Loyalty: Granted, Cerebrates can't betray the Overmind anyway, but he in particular was especially loyal and fervent in serving him. This quickly leads him to distrust Kerrigan for her independance compared to the other agents of the Swarm.

    The Cerebrate (Episode II) 
Cerebrate in control of an unidentified Brood, it serves as the player character in Episode II and watches over Kerrigan's rebirth as the Queen of Blades.

Provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The novels reveal that it stayed on Char with Kerrigan and was killed by Tassadar.
  • The Brute: While Daggoth relays orders to you and Zasz gives you intelligence data, your Cerebrate is stuck doing the muscle work, wiping out the enemy forces on your lonesome.
  • Cerebus Retcon: In the game, the player accompanies the Overmind to Aiur to spearhead the invasion. Novels retcon that the Cerebrate stayed on Char when the Overmind invaded Aiur and was killed by Tassadar.
  • Killed Off for Real: Is slain by Tassadar.
  • No Name Given: Even in the Queen of Blades novel, it is simply "Cerebate." The same novel implies this is because it hasn't existed long enough and/or proven itself enough to warrant one.
  • Player Character: Though one given a bit more backstory and role than the other Non Entity Generals; this Cerebrate is young at the start of the campaign, and created specifically to watch over Kerrigan and empower her.
  • Villain Protagonist: While all of the Player Characters in the original game are undoubtedly heroes, this one fights on the side determined to consume all known life.

    The Cerebrate (Episode VI) 
A member of the Swarm serving Daggoth after the death of the Overmind, it was seized by Kerrigan to aid in controlling her forces. It serves as the Player Character of Episode VI.

Provides examples of:

  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Technically speaking; Kerrigan took control of its mind by force because she needed or wanted aid in keeping her Zerg in line.
  • Co-Dragons: To Kerrigan with Duran.
  • Player Character: Though a very marginalized one, it's made clear that it serves Kerrigan and if it defies her (if it even can) she will put it down.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Word of God is that when Kerrigan wiped out the Cerebrates because she didn't need them anymore after seizing full control of the Zerg, this one was not spared.



Voiced by: Nika Futterman

Another of Kerrigan's broodmothers, in control of the Zerg on Char. Subduing her is Kerrigan's first task to take back the planet for the Swarm. When she rejoins, Kerrigan begins to groom her as a replacement leader for the Swarm if she should be incapacitate or killed somehow.

Provides examples of:

  • Bastard Understudy: An unusual example. While she intends to take over the Swarm if the occasion presents itself, her loyalty toward Kerrigan is genuine. She knows Kerrigan is a more fitting leader in the current situation, and wants to learn more from her as a pupil. Until then, she will keep serving loyally.
  • Blood Knight: She's always eager to unleash the Swarm's wrath on their enemies.
  • Character Development: Invoked in-universe, after her defeat Kerrigan asks if Zagara understands how Kerrigan defeated her, and Zagara's only answers are that she was faster or stronger. Kerrigan has Abathur evolve her and takes Zagara under her wing to instruct her, teaching her the finer aspects of being a shrewd and cunning leader now that she is capable of understanding such concepts.
  • Curious as a Monkey: Zagara shows a lot of curiosity in the differences between other people. She pities the terrans for not having a hive mind, expresses desire to learn about Stukov's origins. It's hinted that her time with Abathur makes her better able to grasp more complex thoughts.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Goes from one of the first Broodmothers to oppose Kerrigan and a blatant Smug Snake in her introduction to a devoted, borderline Sycophantic Servant after Kerrigan defeated her.
  • The Dragon: After rejoining the Swarm, she serves as Kerrigan's right-hand Zerg, commanding the Brood when she can't and being a close advisor. Kerrigan at one point tells her that if she dies, the Swarm will fall to Zagara's control.
  • Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: Performs the gesture when talking to Kerrigan.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Zagara gets very confused when Kerrigan goes out of her way to save Raynor. She doesn't make an issue of it though, assuming that it's part of some clever plan to crush the Terrans in the long term, and busies herself with trying to work it out. Kerrigan wryly comments she's probably not going to crack this one.
    • She seems to have made some connection by the end of Legacy Of The Void; if her forces fall in the second epilogue mission, she pointedly orders Raynor to defend Kerrigan to his dying breath.
    • Becomes fully averted by the Evolution novel, in which she genuinely seeks to use the Zerg to help restore life to ravaged worlds.
  • Heel–Face Turn: By the Evolution novel, she has more or less abandoned the Zerg's previous objective of continual assimilation of all sentient life, instead wanting to restore life to worlds ravaged by war. She also seeks a genuine peace with the Terrans and Protoss. It is this change of principles that leads to Abathur plotting behind her back to instigate another war between the three races.
  • Humans Are Flawed: She pities the Terrans since they are not a Hive Mind like most zerg and are alone inside. She wishes to help them by killing and assimilating them into the swarm.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: A comedic, non-romantic case in Legacy of the Void. If her base is overrun by Amon's forces during the second mission of the epilogue, and Raynor is the only one left to defend Kerrigan, she warns him that should he fail to protect her and survive, she will send the Swarm after him.
  • Recurring Boss: Like Maar before her, she respawns if killed.
  • Rule of Two: She is quite plain about her desire to lead the Swarm herself, and even tells Kerrigan that as long as there is more for her to learn, she will be content to follow. It's heavily implied that if she ever felt herself to be Kerrigan's equal, she would challenge her for the right to rule.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Averted. In Legacy of The Void, one would think she wouldn't take kindly to fighting alongside Raynor, given her attitude towards humans, but they seem to get along just fine to the point that they have a conversation.
  • The Starscream: Zigzagged during the game and ultimately subverted. She's rebelling at first in-line with Kerrigan's rules, is loyal again when she's defeated, but as Kerrigan has Abathur evolve her she feels stronger and wishes to take the Swarm for her own. However, she recognizes she isn't as good a leader as Kerrigan yet, and so resolves to learn from her in preparation for when she comes to power. That said she's entirely loyal, commanding the brood in Kerrigan's place if she's incapacitated and acting as her second-in-command. When Kerrigan is injured she even asks why Zagara is helping heal her instead of seizing control, and Zagara says she still has much to learn from her before she's ready for that. This is a factor of her Character Development, as her expanded ability to think abstractly and make long-term plans helps her realize that she will have better ultimate success by waiting and learning from Kerrigan than taking the first opportunity she sees to usurp control. When she does eventually become the new leader of the Swarm, it's from Kerrigan willingly handing the title down to her rather than through betrayal. Zagara was somewhat saddened at her queen leaving.
  • The Swarm: Not only is she the leader of one, but her play style in co-op empathizes it heavily. She has lowered unit cap (100 to the normal 200) and none of her units are super powerful, but they all build very fast, cost half the value they normally would, and several spawn in groups allowing her to quickly and cheaply reinforce her losses. This makes her shockingly effective at getting a solid resource income then simply overwhelming her foes with wave after wave of zerg.
  • Undying Loyalty: Ironically; as long as Kerrigan is still a better leader than her in her eyes, she'll remain obedient and indisputably loyal to her. In Legacy of the Void, when Kerrigan is about to become a Xel'naga, Zagara admitted that she was honored to have served her, with a regretful tone. She assured Kerrigan that she would remember her lessons.
  • Weapon of Choice: She prefers prolific usage of Banelings, and to a lesser degree Aberrations and Scourge. The mission chain where she features introduces Banelings and Aberrations, and features Scourge as NPC-type units, and in an earlier version of the game Aberrations spawned Banelings upon death. This carries over into Co-op and Heroes of the Storm, where she has abilities that spawn Banelings to attack enemies and her Co-op strategy is mostly to hit enemies with waves of Banelings and Scourge. All in all this is reflective of her limited understanding of tactics prior to her evolution, where she favored the hard Zerg Rush and had no other ideas if that didn't work out.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: When Kerrigan teams up with Raynor's Raiders to save Raynor, Zagara believes her Queen is just tricking the Terrans to better defeat them on a long term. This would be completely in-character for Kerrigan's original Queen of Blade personna. Not so much for her current self.
  • You Are in Command Now: At the end of Legacy of the Void, she takes control of the Swarm once Kerrigan becomes a Xel'naga.


One of Kerrigan's former lieutenants who decided that Kerrigan was no longer worthy of leading the Swarm following her defeat on Char. Kerrigan tracks her down as one of her first missions in the game, only to find out she was already killed by Protoss.

Provides examples of:

  • Bait-and-Switch: The Kaldir questline starts with Kerrigan reaching the planet to track her down, suggesting she is going to be your first opponent the same way Zagara is on Char. Instead, it turns out she was already killed, and the Protoss take her place as the questline's antagonists.
  • Posthumous Character: By the time Kerrigan finds her colony, she has already been killed by the Protoss.
  • The Starscream: Sort of subverted, since she's following Kerrigan's own policy of "the strong rule".
  • The Unfought: Gets killed by the Protoss before Kerrigan can even meet her. The closest you can get to meet her in-game is finding her corpse not far from her colony.

The first Broodmother Kerrigan encounters in the Heart of the Swarm campaign. The leader of a zerg colony living around the Dominion's base in "Rendezvous", she is found by Kerrigan, who is then looking for an army to help her prevent the Dominion force from destroying the Hyperion. Naktul gladly provides Kerrigan with her forces, allowing her to destroy the base. Kerrigan then leaves, with Naktul promising to wait until she comes back. She later rejoins the swarm in a between mission cutscene, near the end of the campaign.

Provides examples of:

  • Blood Knight: Openly relishes death and mayhem.
  • Mission Control: For the duration of "Rendezvous," she serves as this.
  • Supporting Leader: For the most part, Naktul offers her units to Kerrigan with only minimal questioning as to what happened to her.
  • Sycophantic Servant: Oddly enough, she is one of the few Broodmothers to outright not try to follow Kerrigan's policy of "only the strong rule" in a literal sense. Naktul does not betray Kerrigan at all, in fact spending nearly the entire mission giving her her brood almost without question.
  • Sequence Breaking: She appears at the end of the mission in person to help out with the battle (although you cannot control her). However, the place she spawns will likely still be heavily fortified by siege tanks and other terran units, and she can be killed like any other unit. If she is killed, she still carries on the conversation as if nothing happened. She can actually die fast enough without a first-time player realizing she had shown up.
  • Undying Loyalty: Asks if Kerrigan plans to return to Phaeton or not, but otherwise is eager to fulfill her instructions. In fact, she seemed delighted to see Kerrigan had come back.


Voiced by: Courtenay Taylor

A newborn broodmother created by Kerrigan to infiltrate, destroy and infest a Protoss vessel.

Provides examples of:

  • The Corruption: Can infest other units and take control of them.
  • Expy: Ever wanted to play a video game based on the first Alien movie as the Alien? Niadra's your gal.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: From larvae to broodmother that infests a Protoss craft.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Due to being abandoned by Kerrigan after destroying the Protoss expedition and her brood being isolated on Adena as a result, Niadra believes that Kerrigan wants her to continue eradicating all Protoss, and doesn't even know that Zagara now leads the swarm.
  • Obsessed with Food: She is very enthusiastic about consuming biomass. Justified as she's newly grown and needs the energy to feed her rapidly maturing body.
  • Parental Abandonment: With the Protoss eradicated she calls to Kerrigan and receives no answer, realizing she and her brood have been left behind with their purpose fulfilled.
  • Spawn Broodling: Can create fast-hatching Zerglings, Hydralisks and Roaches. In mere seconds she can have an army at her heel.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The entire point of her mission is to grow from a single larvae into a broodmother that can crush the Protoss. And she does just that.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: She's never mentioned again after her mission ends, not even in Legacy of the Void.
    • She appears later in the spin-off comic Shadow Wars set after the events of Legacy of the Void, as an antagonist.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After she infests the ship and destroys the Protoss, Kerrigan abandons her with no other orders. Niadra takes it in stride though, and vows to fulfill her given mission — kill Protoss — and expand her brood until one day Kerrigan has use of her again.

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