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"I bring tidings of doom. I have pierced the veil of creation and beheld only... oblivion. Yet one spark of hope remains. You will hold her life in your hands, and though justice demands she die for her crimes. Only she can save us"

The first episode of StarCraft II, focusing on the terrans, specifically Jim Raynor and his Raiders.

Since Kerrigan defeated the protoss, the Dominion, and the UED four years ago, the zerg have been silent. Raynor has been spiraling deeper into depression and drunkenness, wracked with guilt over being unable to save Kerrigan or meaningfully hinder Mengsk. Raynor's Raiders are falling apart and their great crusade for freedom is fading fast, with some having given up on it already.

On Mar Sara drowning his sorrows, Raynor's old friend Tychus Findlay appears after years in prison, and offers Raynor a little mercenary work retrieving alien artifacts for the Moebius Foundation, a Dominion research group investigating the Protoss and Zerg. Raynor accepts the contract, but hours after getting their first score, Zerg descend on the planet and force the two to return to Raynor's command ship, the Hyperion.

As Raynor's right-hand man Matt Horner lays out, the situation isn't good — the Zerg are invading Terran space, breaking their four years of peace, and the Dominion is pulling back its troops to protect the core worlds. In-between retrieving alien artifacts, helping out people fleeing the Zerg, and trying to find a way to get an edge on Arcturus Mengsk, Raynor is contacted by his old friend Zeratul. The dark templar gasps out a warning of something dire he has learned, and gives Raynor a crystal containing the memories of what he has seen in the past four years — the universe is in peril, Kerrigan is the key to saving it, and soon Raynor will hold her life in his hands.

The Second Great War has begun.

Gameplay in this game features the Hyperion as the mission hub for Raynor and his men. Using credits earned from doing missions, the player can buy upgrades for their units and hire mercenaries to supplement their standard forces. They can also collect Protoss relics and Zerg genetic samples for their scientists to research, unlock more unique benefits for certain units. Missions are stand-alone but grouped into chains by story, with the player able to do the missions in any order they wish up until the final mission chain, the Point of No Return.

Followed by the March 2013 sequel, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, which focuses on Kerrigan and the Zerg and by the November 2015 sequel, StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void which features the Protoss led by Artanis. As of 2017, this episode is now free-to-play.

Tropes appearing in Wings of Liberty include:

  • 0% Approval Rating: Mengsk in the border worlds. After Raynor exposes his crimes, this spreads to the core worlds as well. Though technically, it was reported to be 14% approval rating.
  • Action Insurance Gag: When the Odin comes under fire offscreen, Tychus quips "Hope this thing's insured."
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Justified since Raynor is smeared as a terrorist and mostly gets help, new blueprints and other stuff because he pays people for it or does them favors. Becomes a little less justified in the final missions where theoretically, you should have the entire technology of the Dominion at your disposal—but then again, you're in the middle of an inescapable warzone and it's pretty friendly of the game that you can call in mercenaries and arsenal upgrades at all. Plus, throughout the final missions, you can see wrecked battlecruisers and wraiths fall down around you constantly. It seems like things aren't going well for your allies.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: One of the terran missions has a planet near a sun going supernova (which is, indeed, the name of the mission itself). You have to complete your objective before a wall of fire sweeps across the map, and in the meantime have to keep relocating your base to stay ahead of the flames.
    Raynor: Relax, partner; we got HOURS till that sun explodes!note 
  • The Alcatraz: New Folsom is this. On this planet, Mengsk has put away every scientist, philosopher and artist who has ever criticized him, as well as the Spectres. In 50 years, there has not been even a single escapee until Gabriel Tosh and Raynor's Raiders came along and busted everyone out in an afternoon even after the security had been put on alert by Nova.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • Raynor's Raiders.
    • According to Word of God, when Raynor's unit, the former Colonial Militia, was working with Mengsk, they were known as Raynor's Rangers.
  • And I Must Scream: The Zerg Overmind and the Infested Terrans:
    "Please.... Kill me...."
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes:
    • Your only semi-tangible rewards for getting Achievements are new player portraits and occasionally new icons for your troops in multiplayer.
    • The special edition perks also grant you a differently modeled Thor unit, along with some other portraits.
  • Annoying Arrows: A variation; in a cutscene, General Warfield pulls a Hydralisk spike (one of several) out of his arm.
    • This is subverted when the venom in the spike forces him to lose the arm and get a mechanical replacement.
  • Apocalypse How:
    • The Dark Voice, the leader of the Hybrids, achieves at least a galactic if not universal scale Class 6 in the Overmind's Apocalyptic vision of the future. It will absolutely happen if Kerrigan dies.
    • The last missions of the campaign are about inflicting a Galactic Class 2 upon the Zerg. Only part of one planet is cleansed of the Zerg, but according to Word of God (and the sequel), without Kerrigan (who was in that part) the Zerg broods start fighting one another, reducing them from a coordinated interplanetary threat to isolated (if fierce) local threats. Recovery is impossible without another central guiding intelligence, or until and unless Kerrigan recovers and re-establishes control. A lot of effort goes into preventing the latter. It fails.
  • Apocalyptic Log:
    • Stetmann's logs on the Zerg and Protoss specimens read like this ("it grew an ocular organ today", "it must be getting power from somewhere", "at the first sign of trouble I'll throw it out of the airlock myself..."). By the end of the game, it turns out the Protoss specimen has been helping Stetmann all along and is now covertly supplementing the ship's systems, whereas the Zerg specimen is rather ominously reported as, "trying to escape."
    • In the mission "In Utter Darkness", the Protoss create and seal one of these, along with the history of their species, into a temple as the last of their civilization is destroyed by the Xel'Naga hybrid-controlled Zerg Swarm. The mission is a prophetic one that takes place in an alternate future.
  • Arc Theme: A man is who he chooses to be.
  • Are You Sure You Want to Do That?: When Tychus is about to pull down the jukebox in the cantina, Jim tells him "don't do something you're gonna regret". Tychus ignores the warning, pulls down the jukebox, and throws it at Raynor—who dodges, then promptly disables Tychus's suit using the electrical cable the jukebox was plugged into.
  • Arm Cannon: General Horace Warfield wins this one, literally, with a cannon replacing his arm after losing one to Zerg poison. Fortunately, he retains his other, Hydralisk-punching hand.
  • Armor Is Useless: In cutscenes, standard Terran armor is showed to be easily defeated by just about everything. Standard marines only have 40-50HP. However, Raynor's armor is shown to be effective against rifle rounds as seen when he blocks Tychus's shot.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Enforced in many of the campaign maps, where the enemy will have all the elements of an effective frontline defense or a devastating assault team, but won't use them all at once or use them very effectively, because if they did, the mission would be too difficult.
      • This is particularly noticeable in "Smash & Grab" where there are two paths to the objective, one for you and one for the Zerg, both lined with Tal'darim defenders — the Tal'darim will employ Sentries against you to block chokepoints with Force Field, but have none on the Zerg side to block Zergling swarms. This is because the mission is a race against the Zerg to reach the objective, so the Tal'darim are programmed to stall you while only putting up a token effort against the Zerg.
    • In the campaign, enemies will never deliberately attack vital targets such as your mineral lines, or make an effort to circumvent your defenses. They don't even account for your strength, gleefully sending a small attack head-on into a dozen Siege Tanks protected by Bunkers.
    • If you set up an "even" team match involving AI—you plus computers versus other computers, with all computers set to the same difficulty level—your allies will nonetheless be dumber than your opponents. The opponents move out as a team, whereas your allies do no such and are only likely to send help (to you or each other) if your base isn't too far away. Even if they do help, there's also a disproportionate chance that the opponents will out-macro your allies as well and thus have larger armies. And finally, the computer doesn't need to scout to find the weakest member of your team; they just know.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • One of the possible research upgrades in the campaign is the Planetary Fortress, upgrading your Command Centers to have extra armor and a powerful cannon but they can no longer take off. However, it comes at the cost of never having the more useful Perdition Turrets, burrowing flamethrower turrets with good damage and a considerable area of attack. Also, several missions will require to relocate your base to a new resource node; a pity the Planetary Fortress can't lift off and move. Their main selling point is to function as a powerful Stone Wall.
    • The Hive Mind Emulator allows permanent mind control of a Zerg unit but has a long cooldown and limited range (so it can't be used to snatch a worker to build your own hive). Besides that, individual low-tech Zerg have little value, and Brood Lords and Infestors probably won't get inside of range, so all the Hive Mind Emulator is really good for is occasionally letting you steal an Ultralisk, which is fine. But then consider the alternative research is the Psi Disruptor, which slows the attack and movement rates of all Zerg in a fair-sized radius around it, making it vastly superior to the Emulator. It does have a niche use on a select few missions however, especially ones that provide Brood Lords and Mutalisks to steal from the enemy, allowing you to assemble a Zerg air force at no additional cost to you, and it also has the notable advantage that there's no limit to how many of them you can build.
    • Another research upgrade is Regenerative Bio-Steel, which allows all mechanical units to slowly repair themselves over time. Sounds great, but the rate of regeneration is very slow, as in it'll take several minutes for a weak unit to fully recover. Its counterpart research though is the Cellular Reactor, which gives all caster units +100 starting energy and +100 max energy — this means cloaking units can go on missions immediately, Medics and Medivacs can heal a lot longer, and Battlecruisers come out with their Yamato Cannons already charged and they can fire two shots at max energy. The final nail in the coffin for Bio-Steel is that later in the game, you can get the Science Vessel as a research option, which can use Nano-Repair to heal mechanical units like a Medic healing infantry, and it'll get the energy benefits of Cellular Reactor too.
    • In-universe, this is why the Odin is never used again after its two missions: the thing is so massive even the Hyperion can't transport it adequately, and the mainteance is too time and resource-intensive for the rebels. Swann does reverse engineer a saner version, which shows up as the Thor.
  • Bad Future: The Overmind had a vision, which Zeratul got a hold of and passed to Raynor, of a future where Kerrigan was killed, which results in the Dark Voice enslaving the zerg using the hybrids. The hybrid-zerg army then annihilates the remaining Terran and Protoss. And then the Voice kills the zerg to power up the hybrids further, so that they can destroy all other life in the universe. This occurs in a mission where you play as the Protoss in a futile last stand as the last remnant of their entire species is wiped out.
  • Bag of Spilling: While Raynor's Raiders never had high-end stuff like Battlecruisers other than the Hyperion (Gameplay and Story Segregation notwithstanding), some missions and cutscenes in vanilla Starcraft and Brood War showed they were able to produce mid-tier units like Goliaths or Wraiths. Come this game though, the only units you can produce at the beginning are Marines and Medics, and you need to do missions in order to unlock everything else, either by having Swann obtain new schematics through his contacts (such as the Marauder or the Siege Tank), an ally giving you a new unit as a gift (such as Tosh giving you Reapers or Mira Han giving you Vulture Bikes), or in some special cases by finding and reverse-engineering lost prototypes (You find Diamondbacks on an abandoned Confederate base)
  • Bait-and-Switch: The third campaign mission comes after knocking over two Dominion bases; you can clearly see you're being given bunkers in this one and the Adjutant warns that the Dominion might have traced your location, giving you the impression it's going to be a holdout mission against Dominion forces while you wait for extraction. Well, it is a holdout mission... but it ain't the Dominion attacking you.
  • Bar Brawl: The cutscene "Bar Fight": After you finish the mission "Maw of the Void" and collect the last piece of Xel'Naga technology, the non-primary members of the Hyperion are considering a mutiny because Jim "sold" them to the Dominion when he agreed to work with Valerian to defeat and de-infest Kerrigan. To them, this is a betrayal, since they've signed up to fight against the Dominion, not to work alongside them. They also feel going back to Char is a Suicide Mission. Then, Tychus (who was drunk) says that nobody can trust in "that drunk Jim Raynor". Raynor hears all of this and fights with Tychus, ending in Tychus being neutralized and ordered to fix Raynor's jukebox that was damaged in the fight. The Firefly music near the end just adds to the awesome.
  • Baseless Mission: There's several of these in the game, many of which require you to be careful with your forces so you don't squander them.
  • Base on Wheels:
    • The terran campaign takes heavy advantage of the fact that all their production buildings can be lifted off and moved to another location. There's a lava level with resources found only in canals that get flooded every few minutes, another one where you need to keep moving your base ahead of a wall of flame, and a couple of maps where your starting location just doesn't have many resources to begin with.
  • Batman Gambit: Valerian's plan to recruit Raynor relied pretty much entirely on predicting Raynor would want to confront Arcturus face to face rather than, say, blasting his ship out of the sky with the Hyperion's Yamato Cannon. It also relies heavily on Raynor's guilt of leaving Kerrigan behind and his wanting to cure her instead of just killing her like he swore he would in Brood War.
  • BFG: Battlecruisers pack the Yamato Cannon, a truly massive spine-mounted energy gun. Siege tanks also qualify, as they need to firmly plant themselves in the ground to properly fire it. Thors and the Odin pack plenty of ordinance as well.
    • A man-portable version is Raynor's massive sniper rifle, which he uses on Char. The Penetrator rounds turn everything in front of the bullet into a fine layer of meat.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The First Planet that Doctor Hansen decides to settle down on is called Meinhoff. Incidentally, the German words "Mein Hof" Literally translate as "My Yard/ My Home" (Their Safe Haven). However, the Planet is soon overrun by the Zerg Virus, and Raynor is forced to evacuate the survivors, bringing them to a safer Planet which, just by the way, they called "Haven". Things are looking up, when The Protoss turn up and try to vaporize the place because they think the infestation is still not defeated. So much for Safe Havens in any language.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Half of the single-player campaign consists of Raynor running around the galaxy rescuing abandoned colonists from zerg and occasionally protoss. However, at the end of the campaign Jimmy's invasion of Char kicks it into overdrive, with him bailing out half the Dominion fleet including their General, mopping the floor with the zerg on their home turf (which an Enemy Mine alliance failed to do), and deinfesting Kerrigan.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sarah is "healed" and the Zerg Swarm is shattered, but billions of people are still dead and Raynor had to kill Tychus. Also, Arcturus Mengsk's media image is reeling and his forces severely damaged, but he's still The Emperor of the Terran Dominion. Also, the hidden Big Bad is still around with his Hybrids.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology:
    • One of the medic's Stop Poking Me! quotes is a hilarious jab at the Protoss.
    "We've got a protoss here who needs mouth-to-mouth! Er... mouth to something, anyway."
    • The Zerg. Their tissues mutate and their immune response hunts mutated cells down; if the mutant tissue survives long enough, the entire body develops that mutation. Their amino acids also have "unique R-groups" that let them absorb protein to fuel their Healing Factor. That tissue culture Stetmann's got growing? It used to be rotting.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In: In a Char cutscene, Warfield drops a hydralisk spine and it lands point-first. Moments before, Raynor fires an HEV bullet and the expelled casing also lands "point"-first.
  • Blatant Lies: UNN's news reports (at least, Donny Vermillion's parts. He knows which side of the bread the butter's on, Kate on the other hand...).
  • Bleak Level: The Protoss Prophecy Missions have a very different tone from the Terran missions, with muted colors, the lack of daylight in most (if not all) of the missions and each mission revealing an Awful Truth. The last Prophecy mission has you fighting a hopeless battle where your only goal is to slay a numbered quota of enemy units before being totally annihilated by their endless army.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Available with the Vanadium Plating upgrade (+5% HP per armor upgrade level).
  • Bold Inflation: MAAR's SPEECH.
  • Book Ends: The cinematic just before the second mission, and the ending cinematic, both feature Raynor slowly reaching for his revolver as Tychus looms up behind him, but the context of the two scenes changing their tones drastically.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Colossi are somewhat notorious for having very long range and huge splash damage, making them relatively easy to use in combat, so long as they're protected from anti-air attacks (such as Vikings).
    • Marines are a very easy, and effective, low tech unit to mass and retain their use in the end game, so long as they're upgraded. A combination of Marines with Marauders and Medivacs, makes a potent composition that does well in all three match-ups.

      The campaign provides them boring-but-practical upgrades that would make them overpowered in melee: Vanadium Plating boosts a given units' Hit Points by 5% for each upgrade tier or you can instead use Ultra Capacitors and boost attack haste by 5% per tier. So you can either make your glass cannons tougher under fire, or instead boost their sustained damage output.
    • Roaches are a simple low cost unit with short range and high HP. They have an ability where they quickly gain health while burrowed, but other than that they're very basic. Maxing on nothing but Roaches and overwhelming Protoss players in the mid-game became a big part of competitive Zerg vs Protoss throughout most of 2012. All Protoss builds had to be redesigned to be able to survive a "Roach Max."
    • Alongside the Marine, you get the SP-only Goliath once it gets the upgrades for range and attacking multiple targets. Studier, more powerful and one of the most versatile units in the game.
    • From the Campaign, the Automated Refineries and Science Vessels. Not as badass as some of the other upgrades, and certainly don't cause much of a boom, but by god are they useful.
    • Campaign options include Supply Depots that are built nigh-instantly (due to arriving via drop-pod), Perdition Turrets (burrowing flamethrowers with a large area of effect), and the Psi Disruptor (which slows Zerg movement and attack).
    • The Hercules is a dropship. Simply a dropship...that can hold a lot of units and can unload its passengers quickly. It's still a better investment than the Predator, an anti-bio unit that's outclassed by several other anti-bio units.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted in the cutscene flashback of Sarah Kerrigan at New Gettysburg when she's shown to run out of ammunition and energy.
    • General Warfield also runs out of ammunition for his gun at an inopportune time.
    • Finally, in Piercing The Shroud, the high-tech experimental weapons Raynor finds have limited ammo.
    • The rest of the time, however, ammo is not an issue.
  • Break the Haughty: Donny Vermillion does not take it well when he finds out about Tarsonis, throwing all his pro-Mengsk sentiment in his face.
  • Broken Faceplate: A scene near the end of the game shows the aftermath of a battle, with many broken and immobile suits of Terran power armor strewn across the ground. One prominent shot shows a large hole shot through the characteristic domed visor.
  • Bullet Hell: The Lost Viking arcade game, particularly the Zerg level and the Terra-Tron boss.
  • Call-Back: Kind of literally when an old adjutant you dig up plays a conversation from the first game. Also, that event was rendered in glorious 3D in a new cinematic.
    • The third mission is exactly the same as the third Terran mission from StarCraft: in both instances, you have to defend a base from huge Zerg attacks for 20 minutes while a bunch of evacuation ships come to your rescue.
  • Canon Immigrant: Many of the new characters were featured in the side novels and short stories before making the cut into StarCraft II.
  • Catching Up on History: Tychus is seen looking up archive footage of Kerrigan. When an irritated Matt shows up to ask why he's going through their database without permission, Tychus (who recently escaped from prison) says he's "just catching up on current events". He was freed on the condition that he kill Kerrigan, and was locked in a suit of Power Armor that will kill him if he tries to escape.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Played straight as can be with Raynor's revolver, which he only has one bullet for to boot. Numerous cutscenes show him carrying it around, and it's eventually used in the ending when he shoots Tychus to save Kerrigan's life.
    • The artifact pieces, somewhat. You collect the first piece as early as the second mission (as an opportunity to make some money), and other bits here and there... until after the fourth piece, when its purpose is revealed.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Any TIME the hybrid Maar OPENSSS his TELEPATHY channel.
  • Choose a Handicap: The campaign's penultimate mission essentially asks you whether you'd rather face hordes of Zerg fliers or be harassed by Nydus Worms popping up everywhere in the final mission. You can either do Shatter the Sky and destroy the orbital platforms where the Zerg air force resides, or do Belly of the Beast and flood the Nydus network with lava, but you can't do both.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Considering it is one of the main sources of Raynor's animosity towards Kerrigan, it is surprising that he doesn't make a single reference to Fenix, his closest Protoss friend who was betrayed and murdered by her hand in Brood War. He manages to make that reference in Heart of the Swarm, though.
  • Cliffhanger: Heart of the Swarm and Legacy Of The Void have a lot of things to explain. The game ends with Jim carrying a now (mostly) cured Kerrigan off Char. Though this resolves that plot, there's still Zeratul's vision and the Dark Voice, Valerian's dealings with Raynor, the Moebius Foundation and "Dr Narud", and of course Kerrigan's curing means the zerg are leaderless, although a quick glance at her cured body reveals an odd skintone and the nastiest dreads in existence, so she isn't totally free. Besides the above point, the only real resolution to any of the overarching story is Raynor exposing Mengsk's war crimes to the Dominion.
  • Combining Mecha: Terratron, from the 2009 April Fools' Day gag. It makes an appearance in the Mini-Game.
    Beware of Terra-tron. HE DOES NOT LIKE YOU.
  • Companion-Specific Sidequest: Most missions in 'the single-player are issued by a particular Hyperion crew member: Tychus was officially busted out by the Moebius Foundation to serve as contact between them and Raynor, Dr. Hanson is the leader of her fleet of refugees, and Tosh, the leader of the Spectres. While you only have to complete a portion of them to finish the campaign, each one provides additional characterization for the corresponding companion/quest giver, particularly the final missions in each arc, which generally contain major Story Branching.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • On Hard and Brutal difficulties, the AI will use units you don't have and cannot have access to yet, such as Siege Tanks in the second mission and Ravens and Banshees in the train mission. Later missions also give the Dominion bases Tech Reactor add-ons to their buildings so they can double-train any unit they like long before you can access them, and on Brutal they get more of the other upgrades you won't have access to yet, such as their buildings auto-repairing themselves. Also, their units will start with better upgrades and may even have higher upgrades than you can possibly get at that point.
    • In the final mission, the recurring boss character that routinely attacks your base has an Immortal-like damage resistance that heavily reduces the damage it takes from heavy-hitting units. This means a line of Siege Tanks are fodder for destruction, but a Marine ball is surprisingly effective. Since the game doesn't tell you about this damage resistance, of course, the player is likely to throw their toughest units at it and wonder why they're doing nothing.
    • The harder AI levels also have awareness of what you're up to without scouting, leading to fishy behaviour such as sending units to attack buildings you secretly constructed and always being aware of where you are undefended. Then again, this behavior can be exploited to an extent to divert attacks away from key areas.
    • Mostly averted outside of the campaign, though. Insane difficulty AI cheats, but Very Hard and lower difficulties will not.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • Since the player is free to play through the missions in any order they like, you can end up fighting enemy units, seeing various sideplots, and snagging new units you aren't supposed to know exist yet. For example:
    • You can play the final Tosh mission and find Thors, before the Odin, its Super Prototype, makes its "official" debut in other missions.
    • In a similar situation, if you complete the mission for the 4th artifact, you'll see a cinematic of Raynor meeting with Valerian and the Dominion Fleet, at which point General Warfield is supposed to be accompanying them. You can then play the "Media Blitz" mission, the final mission of Matt Horner's Revolution campaign, and attack Korhal, where Warfield is handling security.
      • By extension, you can complete "Maw of the Void" to unlock Battlecruisers after Valerian Mengsk gives you the plans. Then you can play "Media Blitz" to use those cruisers on Korhal which would open up a can of worms about Valerian blatantly betraying Arcturus. The plot continues on like normal however.
    • Alternately, you can first play "Media Blitz", causing Donny Vermilion's nervous breakdown, and then complete "Maw Of The Void" and have him back, reporting on Valerian Mengsk's failure to arrive to a battlecruiser's christening ceremony which was proceeding despite the general mayhem caused by the rioting in the streets. The continuity's hosed either way.
    • At one point, Horner accuses Raynor of putting everyone at risk so he "can get [his] girlfriend back". However, a player can complete the entire Zeratul arc before this conversation, the ending of which gives Raynor a very good, non-selfish reason to want Kerrigan alive.
    • In one of the Zeratul missions in the ruins of Aiur, you find Warp Gates abandoned from the planet's fall. Reactivating them reveals a high templar and stalkers that got caught in the warp matrix when the gates lost power. Two problems with this - protoss didn't reverse-engineer the xel'naga technology for Warp Gates until after they evacuated Aiur, and stalkers are dark templar machines based on the dragoon that also weren't developed until after Aiur was abandoned and the two races were reunited. The Tal'Darim also seem to be fans of using Stalkers and Void Rays (Dark Templar + High Templar energized warships) despite their fanatic hatred for Dark Templar. Legacy of the Void gives a Hand Wave that the Tal'Darim are scavengers who have based all their tech on Khalani stuff they've stolen over the years.
    • Similarly to the protoss example above, the recovered adjutant is not the same model as the ones shown in the original game—though it does have a trace of a Southern accent, in contrast to your normal adjutant.
    • In the mission "In Utter Darkness", you warp in units and buildings regularly despite it being the last stand of all remaining Protoss. You might handwave it in that this particular location has strategic importance, so they're being warped in from less strategically important parts of the last stand, since Jim mentioned that there were more protoss than he'd ever seen.
    • Swann reverse-engineers a schematic of the Thor by studying the Odin, which is to be showcased on Korhal as a prototype for a new line of Dominion weapons. However, according to the Frontline graphic novels, two years prior to the game Thors are already in use in the field, so why the need to show off their prototype? Furthermore, according to the official website for the game (which admittedly was abandoned long before the game came out), the Thor was developed secretly on Korhal, while the Odin is on planet Valhalla. A short story explains that it was moved to be finished.
  • Continuity Nod: Once you've hacked the old Confederate adjutant, it mostly sputters static, but repeatedly clicking on it has it identify itself as the exact same Adjutant from the starting Terran campaign of StarCraft. Since this adjutant happens to have data from a very important event in that campaign, it makes sense that it's the same one. Additionally, the lines that it intercepted as part of the Tarsonis defense network prior to the Zerg attack (along with the lines from Raynor's flashback of above event) are the exact same ones from the last few Terran missions in StarCraft.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Swann reverses-engineers the Thor from the Odin, and it just so happens his schematics for the Thor are exactly the same as the Dominion Thors. The only differences in the optional upgrades you can purchase... which Dominion Thors automatically get if you rescue them in the initial invasion of Char. Thors were stated in Frontline to be reversed engineered by Umoja.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Apparently if you're badass enough, you can walk around a hell world covered in molten magma full of infectious agents without putting down your safety mask. Additionally, your units rapidly lose health if they're caught in a wall of fire caused by a supernova, or if they're caught in a rising "tide" of lava; merely being in close proximity to the fire or the lava is fine. And if you're attractive enough, you don't even need to wear clothes. Rule of Sexy trumps mere 1000 degree heat, any day. Or can create it.
    • Nova's special mission takes place on a space platform open to the vacuum. That wouldn't be so bad, since all Terran units are either robots, vehicles, or wearing sealed powered armor... except for Nova herself, who is toting a Spy Catsuit and goggles against the cold void and can still talk normally, not to mention not die.
  • Cosmetic Award: There are TONS of Achievements to get: something like sixteen hundred points from the single player campaign alone (each Achievement being worth 10 to 20 points), and getting them is surprisingly addictive. The only reward is getting more portraits and a higher points score for your player avatar, but it's still fun to get awarded for pulling off something hard like blowing up 20 different things with Yamato cannon blasts, killing 50 units with Zeratul in a single mission, or preventing the protoss from destroying a single SCV of yours in a mission where they're constantly being exposed to say nothing of completely esoteric and (on the surface) impossible ones, such as warping in a zealot...while playing as zerg.
  • Creator Cameo / The Cast Show Off: One of the in-game TV ads is about Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain, in-game called "L800ETC", the band comprising several members of Blizzard's development team, promoting their new album.
    • On a somewhat related note, here is the portrait of a Goliath mercenary unit. Here is a photo of Dustin Browder, head of the development team.
  • Crossover:
    • The manga short story "The Voice in the Darkness" is a Cthulhu Mythos crossover. Also, the 2007 April Fool's joke "Tauren marines" was a crossover with World Of War Craft.
    • There is also a Murloc Marine.
    • Diablo makes a cameo in the rising lava level, reminding much of Hell as it was in Diablo 2.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Averted with one of the cutscenes previewed before the game's release, wherein Zeratul kicks a bunch of zerg ass and even harms Kerrigan, as Zeratul is pretty much just as destructive in-game, and has the same abilities too (beyond being stuck on flat planes). Kerrigan, however, displays a severe case of Cutscene Incompetence.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Although the storyline has multiple branching paths, Blizzard is on the record stating which paths are canon. If you want to know, the canon ending of the Tosh missions is Breakout, the canon ending of the Ariel Hanson missions is Safe Haven and when given the choice of what to attack on Char, Raynor chooses to take out the Nydus worm network by flooding it with lava.
  • Cutting the Knot:
    • In "Cutthroat", you can win the mission by destroying Colonel Orlan's base without hiring Mira Han. It awards a 10th Anniversary achievement.
    • In "Welcome to the Jungle", destroying the Protoss base is an Instant-Win Condition and gives you a Feat of Strength.
    • Averted in "The Devil's Playground". While destroying all Zerg structures gives you a Feat of Strength, you still have to mine the requisite amount of minerals to beat the mission.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    • The normally proper and calm Matt Horner, when he sees the Leviathan in the final mission, just catches himself in time.
      "Holy sh—sir..."
    • The Spectre's hilarious Stop Poking Me! quote:
      Tape: "Welcome to Anger Management Volume One. Repeat after me: "Anger does not dictate my life."
      Spectre: "Anger does not dictate my life."
      Tape: "Anger does not dictate my life."
      Spectre: "You just said that you stupid b-!"
  • Danger Deadpan: The Wraith pilot. The unit has four different death lines, all of which would sound normal when delivered with utter terror.
  • Danger with a Deadline: "Outbreak" takes place on a planet whose star has a very high UV output which burns Zerg units instantly. Thus the level has you bunker down and defend against swarms of Infested Terrans by night (a Zombie Apocalypse in all but name) and attack their bases by day. You can, however, attack during the night if you feel like going for an achievement.
  • Dark Secret: Tychus's deal with Mengsk.
  • Deal with the Devil: Again, Tychus's deal with Mengsk. For his freedom, he just has to play along with Raynor until he gets to Kerrigan, then he must kill Kerrigan. This was, by the way, half revealed in the opening cinematic — the dialog reveals that Mengsk is letting Tychus go free, but at that time it is not revealed why. It was even invoked by name in the final cinematic.
  • Death from Above: Pervasive throughout, but one example that stands out is in the A Card to Play cutscene (a squadron of Banshees destroys an attacking Zerg force). Nuclear strikes initiated by Ghosts or Specters would qualify as well.
  • Deep South IN SPACE:
    • A number of Terran units sport a very southern accent, the jukebox between missions plays mostly country, and of course, the Dominion's predecessor was called the Confederacy.
    • Some of the terran in-game themes also have country-like parts.
    • Annabelle, one of the terran NPCs and the only female in the Hyperion's Cantina, talks like Southern Belle if you click on her (one of her lines includes "Well I do declare!").
  • Demoted to Extra: Kachinsky was supposed to have his own mission chain but it was scrapped. He does get to be the default profile picture for people who haven't earned avatar achievements yet, and is seen wandering around every room on the ship, as well as being the voice of the short-lived committee debating mutiny against Raynor.
  • Determinator: There are several in this game, Raynor is an obvious one. Even years after the events of Brood War he still wants to try to save Kerrigan and he eventually does. He also has an axe to grind with Mengsk and the Dominion, another goal he refuses to give up on even when logic and good sense says he can't win.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • Several units that normally don't have an attack have voice quotes for an attack command, just in case you want to edit them to have one for your custom map. You can hear them in-game when selecting multiple units and the portrait used is one without an attack.
    • Many maps encourage you to focus on the objective and then get out of there, as the enemy force is too powerful to defeat in a frontal assault. But if you're crazy and skilled enough to go for it and pull it off, the mission has triggers in place to end the mission in a victory, since with the enemy gone you have all the time in the world to actually do the objective, and you'll get a unique conversation too. "The Dig" even has an achievement for destroying 50 Protoss structures on Hard difficulty, one of the mentioned missions where attacking the enemy base is otherwise not advised.
      • This doesn't happen in the third mission, where you're required to wait out the timer for evacuation even if you sweep the map of all Zerg. But this then leads to another bit of Developer's Foresight — throughout the mission Nydus Worms will spawn in the Zerg bases to dispense units for the attack waves; the Zerg reinforcements don't just appear out of thin air.
    • Ariel Hanson leaves the Hyperion once you resolve her mission line, but if you avoid doing them she'll stay on the ship and has conversational dialogue for every other mission up to the Point of No Return.
    • Putting off certain other missions until you complete "Media Blitz" will cause some UNN news stories to change, since in "Media Blitz", Raynor exposed Arcturus' hand in the fall of Tarsonis, and thus Donny Vermillion isn't so keen on perpetuating Dominion propaganda anymore.
    • During the first Hanson mission to evacuate Agria, there's dialogue from Hanson yelling at you if you destroy the neutral colonist structures.
    • If you manage to defeat Colonel Orlan on Cutthroat without hiring Mira Han, she doesn't appear in the ending cutscene and the dialogue does not reference her. Heart of the Swarm makes it clear this is non-canon though.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • In the campaign, selecting Ultra Capacitors over Vanadium Plating can make the game marginally more difficult due to losing the more forgiving health boost from the later (+5% total hp for each armor upgrade), but if you put in the required extra micromanagement, having +5% to total attack haste for each weapon upgrade will make upgraded attackers even more effective damage dealers, with Marines benefiting a lot when they activate their Stimpacks on top of that. Extra damage is also a major help for defense missions where you're the one dishing out most of the damage, with this benefit being desirable on the final mission.
    • Orbital Strike isn't as straightforward to use as the more flexible Tech Reactor, but the ability to have trained infantry arrive almost anywhere on a map can make reinforcements much easier, and you can complete some levels very quickly by inserting Ghosts/Spectres into weak points and taking out a key target with nukes. Orbital strike is also handy for collecting bonus objectives in a lot of cases. This takes acute map knowledge to use effectively, and without planning ahead, it's difficult to make the most of the advantages of orbital strike, and you can't use it for Factory or Starport builds, but if you know the weak points on the map, then you can insert tactical strikes at key points, without needing to send your army around the long way or resorting to drop play, and you can complete certain missions in record time this way.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • If you complete Ariel Hansen's mission arc as soon as possible, you unlock the Viking. It's especially powerful as an air-to-air fighter but can also land on the ground to transform into a ground-to-ground mecha. Having Vikings can make a lot of missions much easier such as in "Cutthroat" where you can land a large enough squadron at your objective to snipe Orlan's Planetary Fortress. If you upgraded your Vikings, they even outrange the Fortress and are safe from its return fire. In the following mission "Engine of Destruction", Vikings are generally superior to the Wraith unlocked at this point, proving overwhelming air-to-air support for the Odin as it demolishes bases. With this mission complete...
    • ...You can complete the relatively easy "Media Blitz" and unlock the Thor heavy assault walker. With the Thor unlocked early, you have a very tanky multi-role Humongous Mecha, with devastating anti-ground cannons and anti-air that devastates light fliers. You can even upgrade their strike cannons to deal splash damage to deal with swarming units.
    • Completing "The Dig" as soon as possible unlocks Siege Tanks. If you have unlocked the aforementioned Vikings, completing "The Dig" becomes even easier. With Siege Tanks at your disposal, a lot of earlier missions become very easy.
  • Downer Ending: Invoked by Zeratul on the consequence of killing Kerrigan. If she dies, the Fallen One will take over the Zerg and use them and his hybrid to wipe out all life in the universe.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Raynor dramatically cocks his laser-sighted sniper rifle in a Char cutscene moments after saving General Warfield from a hydralisk.
  • Dramatic Pause: The protoss love that. One of the examples is Zeratul's dialogue with Tassadar's spirit.
  • Drop Pod: The Terrans use them on occasion, and one mission involves rescuing Drop Pods stranded a bit too far behind enemy lines.
    • The Orbital Strike upgrade allows your Barracks units to enter the battlefield in drop pods at the building's rally point instead of having to walk there.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Being the first of the sequel triology, Wings of Liberty had several oddities in how its campaign mechanics functioned compared to Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void.
    • The player's tech options are permanent and not all of them can be acquired in the same playthrough, while the other two games let the player change up tech choices between missions and most options were accessible, save for Heart of the Swarm's evolved Zerg strains. Each mission (with the exception of the first and final mission chains) introduces a new unit as the focus of that mission, while the other campaigns feature fewer units with more emphasis on gradually unlocking variants of pre-acquired units. Finally, most units in Wings of Liberty are identical to how they feature in melee play (the ones that featured in melee, anyway), while Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void had more unique mechanics for their units.
    • The player is free to do missions in any order with only story continuity linking them, unlike Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void where missions were part of chains and at least some of them had to be done sequentially. Wings of Liberty also had subplots with their own dedicated mission paths and branching endings, which the other two games didn't. This is the main reason there is no Master Archives for Wings of Liberty like the other campaigns have; the total freedom afforded players for the order they could play the missions means it would be impossible to let players jump into the campaign at any point to replay the mission, as they could do with Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void due to their more rigid mission structure.
    • In addition to enhancements to the player's units, Heart of the Swarm had players upgrading Kerrigan's capabilities, improving the brood's infrastructure and her combat skills, and Legacy of the Void had a similar system for powering up the Spear of Adun and using its topbar calldowns during missions. Wings of Liberty has no mechanic comparable to these, and upgrades to the player's base management are handled through the lab and the armory like other upgrades.
    • The Mercenaries mechanic, which lets the player call in a small number of Elite Mook units each mission, has no equivalent mechanic at all in the other two installments.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Collect the MacGuffin, team up with your worst enemy's son, fight a losing battle while outgunned and outnumbered while the MacGuffin charges up energy, take a bullet from your oldest friend and kill him, and finally rescue Kerrigan. Oh, and since this is just the first game in the trilogy, and considering what we learn by the ending, it'll only get worse from here before the final ending of the trilogy. The heroes are really earning their happy ending in this game.
  • Easy Level Trick:
    • With the correct amount of Reaper micro using the rescuable ones around the map to go around and gather mineral pick-ups along with killing the Brutalisk for the Zerg research, the first Covert mission can be beaten fairly easily within 5 minutes. All you really need is knowledge of the map to know of the mineral pick-up locations along with what Zerg structures to destroy that provide mineral pick-ups. Gathering with the two Command Centers and SCVs you're provided helps clean up the last remaining minerals you may need.
    • Another level that can be beaten fairly quickly with proper micro is the third Prophecy mission. You're required to bring Zeratul to four Overmind tendril beacons around the map, which with proper map knowledge to know where to Blink along the path and Void Prison the enemy detection, you can worm Zeratul around the map to reach each of the beacons in one go right at the start of the level; effectively beating the mission within a couple minutes. The part that really helps is that Zeratul's health and shields restores to 100% at each of the beacon grabs.
    • The final Prophecy mission spawns in a Nydus Worm at the gold mineral expansion 16 minutes into the mission that will forever spawn in Zerglings until you kill said Nydus Worm. If you set up Photon Cannons just out of range of killing the Nydus Worm in order to kill just the non-stop stream of Zerglings, it makes for an easy way to grind kills for the mission's kill-counter. Thus, finishing the level a good 5 to 10 minutes faster than you're supposed to.
    • The second-last Artifact mission that involves the firewave is one of those missions that can be beaten fairly quickly with the cheese-tactic of running air-units along the edge of the map, and then sniping the structure in the back of the main enemy base that's holding the Artifact fragment after clearing away the few detecting Photon Cannons that protect it. It's possible to pull off with just an army of cloaked Banshees that you unlock in this mission. Good enough micro, while much more difficult, can even complete this cheese-tactic with just the four starting Banshees. In addition, having Vikings or Wraiths unlocked for anti-air certainly helps, along with any means of detection to get rid of the one or two pesky Observers along the way, such as having Orbital Command scans or Science Vessels unlocked.
    • The developers give the player the ability to play through missions from different mission chains in any order, with only a hidden "do this many missions first" value locking the later ones. A lot of missions from one chain are trivialized by units from another, if you know what you're doing.
      • The first Rebellion mission has you chasing down Dominion trains, and gives you the Diamondback for the mission, which can attack on the move and deals bonus damage to armored units. But if you do the second Artifact mission first and get Siege Tanks, they're even better — they cost less resources and supply, build faster, they can handle attack waves much better than the Diamondbacks, and since you're given notice every time a train spawns, you have plenty of time to get them into position to siege up and bombard the train. A mechanic in the mission concerns a kill team of Marauders that patrol the region; a dangerous army to a group of Diamondbacks, but Siege Tanks will have a much easier time with them, and if you've done enough Protoss research to get the Science Vessel, you can use them to Irradiate the squadron and watch them wither and die in seconds.
      • The second Colonist mission tasks you with defending yourself from Infested Terrans during the night and destroying their spawning structures during the day. Your assigned unit for the mission is the Hellion, but if you do the first Covert mission you get the Reaper, which are built for three things — moving quickly, fighting light units, and destroying buildings. A force of Reapers can steamroll the infested structures by day, get back to base quickly once the sun sets, and then spend the night effortlessly holding off the infested.
      • For that matter, both the first and second Colonist mission place a heavy emphasis on base defense against the Zerg. If you get the Siege Tank beforehand, it makes that a lot easier, and both missions give you high ground choke points to boot. Or you can just do enough missions to earn Zerg research and build a bunch of Perdition Turrets, which are basically Firebat-type base defenses that roast most Zerg units.
      • The second Rebellion mission requires you to scavenge resources from scrap pick-ups around the map to earn the alleigance of a neutral third-party to help you smash a heavily fortified enemy base. However, you only need to destroy their Planetary Fortress, which is located in back of the base on a high cliff with light defenses. If you use the Hercules dropship and build up a decent-sized army, you can ferry them up onto the high ground and focus fire down the Fortress before the enemy can mobilize enough defenders to save it. Vikings and their mercenary counterparts Hel's Angels will work as well, easily bringing down the Jackson's Revenge Battlecruiser and (with upgrades) outrange the Fortress when they're in ground assault mode.
      • The third Rebellion mission is an Escort Mission where you're meant to build Wraiths to help out a One-Man Army allied unit that isn't very effective against enemy air units. However, if you finish the Colonist missions beforehand, you have the Viking, which is superior to the Wraith in every possibly way, both as air superiority and ground support fire. Also, it's possible to do a part of the map backwards if you're really fast at macroing up an army. After building said army, you can destroy the final Dominion base before the Odin arrives to it to end the mission earlier. And if you're really fast, you may even be able to destroy the second-last Dominion base before the Odin gets there. One of the most common methods is to destroy the bases with nukes after unlocking Ghosts/Spectres from the last Covert mission.
      • The second Artifact mission has you defending an objective building, the Laser Drill, until it bores a hole into the temple as your win objective. While your main unit for the mission, the Siege Tank, is vital to defense, you're also going to deal with enemy air units. The mission tells you to build missile turrets and use the drill to kill them, but if you did the Colonist missions to get Vikings, or just the second Covert mission to get Goliaths, they'll handle your anti-air no worries, and Goliaths also help provide support fire for the ground waves.
      • While it varies depending on difficulty and the specific mission, enemies don't always send out detectors with their attack waves. If you get the upgrades to equip Ghosts, Banshees, or Spectres with permanent cloaking, they can make base defense pretty easy, even using them to wall off the enemy's path in large numbers.
      • The final Protoss research, Orbital Strike, can trivalize two of the late-game levels due to its sequence-breaking potential of dropping in Barracks units anywhere on the map that you have vision. More specifically, dropping in Ghosts/Spectres to spam nukes on the mission objective. The first mission that this trick can be done in is the final Artifact mission where if you have knowledge of the one small area next to the Artifact fragment vault that doesn't have enemy detection, you can drop Ghosts/Spectres there to then nuke the vault (the vault itself provides the player vision), and end the mission in just a few minutes. The second mission that utilizes this trick is the first Char mission. The first part of the mission requires you to build and gather up enough Terran forces before the second part activates, which the Orbital Strike drop pods can help rescue the stranded units. However, the second part is what Orbital Strike really trivalizes where you're required to destroy the 3 Nydus Worms spawning in Zerg to attack Warfield's crash site. Orbital Strike allows for the player to skip the entire push through a Zerg fortification towards Warfield's location by just dropping in the Barracks units at the crash site and attacking from there, such as dropping in Ghosts/Spectres to nuke the 3 Nydus Worms.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: Raynor's Raiders at one point recover an old Confederate adjutant (the robot that informs you during the game about your base's status). Raynor being Raynor, the recovery was definitely not careful and delicate and as a result the adjutant takes some damage; as a result, while the adjutant works otherwise fine, its voice stutters and glitches.
  • Elite Mooks: The Aberration is a zerg unit that only appears in the campaign. It's big and can take a lot of damage, but fortunately only has melee attacks. It is implied that it's an "advanced" form of an infested terran, since they only appear in missions where infested terrans feature prominently.
    • The Hybrid Destroyers and Reavers, both of which are WAY stronger than any unit you have access to, baring some hero units, even with the campaign upgrades.
  • Elite Zombie: Infested Marines, which have a ranged attack as opposed to the standard Infested Colonists claws, and the above-mentioned Aberrations (which fit into the Brute subtype of elite zombie), which are massive, centauroid infested terrans with huge zits all over them. Due to the Zerg Healing Factor, all three also count as Regenerators.
  • Enemy Mine: The final missions have you team up with the Dominion - who you've been fighting the entire game - to put an end to the zerg threat by saving Kerrigan.
  • Escape Sequence: The secret mission has an invincible Hybrid chasing you as you escape the facility.
  • Escort Mission: Two of them. One has you escorting near defenseless colonists, the other a Super Prototype Thor as it destroys enemy bases.
  • Excuse Plot:
  • Executive Meddling: Blizzard and Gretech's efforts to push SC 2 at the expense of the Proleague have earned them this reputation. This is also thought to be the reason the game has Facebook integration and lacks LAN multiplayer.
  • Exploding Barrels: Even the RTS genre isn't safe. In this case, they make an appearance in the secret terran mission.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: The ending has Tychus betray Jim by attempting to kill Kerrigan revealing that Mengsk offered him freedom if he did so. Jim kills him for it.
  • Eye Color Change: When the decrypted Adjutant is playing back its recording, its eyes turn red whenever Mengsk is talking, green for Raynor, purple for Kerrigan and yellow for Duke. The adjutants in this game have blue eyes by default.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The final mission in Zeratul's flashback campaign in the second game has you controlling the last protoss army in a fight to the death against The Dark Voice, his hybrids and the mind controlled zerg. The mission only ends when all of the protoss are dead, including the normally un-expendable hero units. There are no victory conditions, just "you have killed enough zerg to be worthy of the name protoss", and optionally you can defend a key building long enough to Fling a Light into the Future. Also counts as Storyboarding the Apocalypse.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: The Stone Guardians in an early mission, "Smash & Grab", are towering stone zealots that attack with an Eye Beam that looks like the Colossus. However, their beams fire slower, do less damage, have shorter range, and don't deal splash damage. Three actual Colossi could put up a better defense than them.
  • Fan of the Past: The jukebox in the Hyperion's cantina plays nothing but Southern rock and country, including covers of "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird".
  • Fanfare: The game's main menu music starts off with a remix of the original menu music and then usually fades into a quieter background theme, but every now and then it will instead progress right into the full main title. It is awesome every time it happens.
  • Fantastic Recruitment Drive: There's a Dominion ad encouraging parents to let their children be trained as Ghosts.
  • Flavor Text: Contrary to the first game, where non plot relevant exposition was in the manual, a lot of the lore can be accessed in game. Most anything purchased on the Hyperion, from merc contracts to research projects, have a little bit of background information.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: The bonus objective of the final mission in the protoss mini-campaign is to protect the protoss archives long enough to allow the high templar within to preserve everything they know for future species, and thus invoke this trope.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Raynor finds Zeratul's sneak in the Hyperion, Zeratul alerts him that Kerrigan must be alive or something very bad will happen to the universe as a whole.
    Zeratul: You will hold her life in your hands...
    • Tosh tells Raynor he suspects someone on the ship is working for the Dominion and Horner constantly tells Raynor that Tychus is up to something and that someone has 'a gun to his head.' Both foreshadow Tychus's betrayal at the end of the campaign.
    • If you pay attention to the News Ticker when watching the UNN news reports in the opening missions on Mar Sara, it foreshadows quite a few things that will happen later on in the campaign — the Dominion fleet has reported increased activity on Char (Kerrigan is getting ready to mobilize), a Jorium freighter was hijacked by pirates (it was probably Tosh), there's rumors the Dominion is building a superweapon (they are, and it's the Odin), and Prince Valerian has announced a grant for a new archeology museum (hinting he leads the Moebius Foundation)
  • Friendly Sniper: During the invasion of Char, Raynor uses a massive anti-Zerg rifle, while maintaining his good ol' boy sense of humor.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The Hyperion is supposedly in orbit when Raynor is leading missions. During the cutscenes, it demonstrates the ability to scan planets and show troop movements on the surface. The player is unable to use this ability during the missions, instead relying on traditional scouting.
    • As lore and unit descriptions have it, Reapers are recruited from the most dangerously unstable of convicts, Ax-Crazy psychos that could not be redeemed even through neural resocialization. When you first meet them Rory Swann—a guy who gets irritated at the notion of just allowing pirates on board—exclaims "Hell, cowboy, we gotta train more of these guys! They're seriously bad-ass!" Of course, as The Engineer, he's probably more interested in their gear than the men inside the suits.
    • The mercenaries you can hire can also be seen working for enemy forces, especially on higher difficulties. Irritating, but given that "Cutthroat" revolves around mercenaries demonstrating Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, it isn't unbelievable that some of them may be double-dealing. However, the Battlecruiser mercenary unit "Jackson's Revenge" is, according to its profile, a unique old Confederate battlecruiser. That's why you only get to hire one per mission, there's only one of it. However, even if it gets shot down and destroyed, next mission it'll be free to hire again. On Brutal difficulty, some of the pre-placed enemy battlecruisers, such as in "Breakout" and the aforementioned "Cutthroat," are replaced with Jackson's Revenge. Thus if you do the artifact missions to the point you have battlecruisers and buy the contract, you can have a Mirror Match between two copies of this "unique" battlecruiser, and then in later missions it'll still be around. Mind Screw much?
    • Kerrigan's durability in gameplay. The cutscene with Zeratul has him slice one of her "wings" off. In gameplay, she's more durable than a freaking warship.
    • The Hive Mind Emulator at the last mission. The Xel-Naga Device is supposed to destroy all of the Zerg on Char ... but your Zerg are unaffected.
    • The unit description of Zeratul's Void Seeker states that it's focused in transportation, not combat. Despite this, the Void Seeker has an anti-air weapon that deals 200 damage and attacks five times a second, far outclassing everything else in the game in terms of damage. The player never has the chance of using it though.
  • Gatling Good: The Viking, a transforming combat walker / fighter jet, uses these in walker form, as does the Goliath. Tychus gets his own personal one in his on-foot mission. The mercenary battlecruiser Jackson's Revenge gets gatling lasers, which is mostly Rule of Cool since the original battlecruiser doesn't have them and Jackson's Revenge shows no noticeable advantages for having gatling lasers.
  • Good-Guy Bar: The cantina on the Hyperion, complete with an arcade machine and a jukebox hanging from the ceiling. Raynor's in another bar in the beginning on Mar Sara and it looks like said bar is actually his headquarters. Of course, since he has only a handful of troops on-world and his staff is literally a holographic head in a box, he doesn't need much.
  • Good Pays Better: One of the first missions involves fleeing Mar Sara. At certain points in the mission, stranded survivors will call for aid. If you go to retrieve them with enough forces, you can end up with a positive net gain in saved resources. Similarly, in the mission where you bail out Narud, it is almost impossible to win the mission on hard mode if you don't bother to search and save the surviving mercenaries scattered around the map. This happens again when you fight in the underground caverns on Char where rescuing lost terran units (especially the firebats) is almost a must. In-universe, helping Tosh and Ariel Hanson will free many dissenters and intellectuals who opposed Mengsk and help humanity in its search for a cure for infestation respectively.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: In order to unlock the final three missions of the campaign, Raynor must complete all the missions whose objectives are to acquire pieces of a Xel-Naga artifact that is the key to defeating Kerrigan. It is not necessary to complete all of the non-artifact missions to beat the campaign, although a certain number must be completed to unlock various artifact missions.
  • Gravity Sucks: Apparently the platform above Char needs power to stay in orbit.
  • Guide Dang It!: There's only so many credits you can get in the course of the single player campaign, and A LOT of stuff you can buy.
  • Gunship Rescue: The mission "Zero Hour" pretty much involves holding out until the Hyperion can arrive and pull this off, seguing into "The Escape from Mar Sara". Later, toward the endgame, a squad of Banshees serves the same purpose on Char.
  • Harder Than Hard: The aptly-named Brutal mode, which is higher than Hard Mode, comes with an explicit warning that it should only be attempted by Starcraft experts. Besides the obvious changes such as enemies using mercenaries, larger forces, and higher tier units (such as a siege tank on the second mission), there's also a hidden mechanic where enemy units do 25% more damage to your units than they normally would, meaning even identical units are guaranteed to lose if the player isn't careful.
  • Hard Mode Mooks: The Terran Dominion and Orlan's mercenaries will make use of mercenary units, variants of normal units with more powerful weapons and more health, on Hard and Brutal difficulties.
  • Hate Sink: Out of the enemies, the Zerg are just a Horde of Alien Locusts, Dominion soldiers are just a bunch of bog-level Mooks. The Tal'darim Protoss are portrayed as despicably uncouth, ruthless fanatics that just won't stop insulting you and shamelessly harass terrans who so much as lay a finger on their worlds. Worst of all, they imprison Protoss who don't agree with their ways, so even the Dark Templar hate them too.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Donny Vermillion, an otherwise unheroic Dominion reporter gets one in StarCraft II when he finds out Mengsk turned the zerg on Tarsonis, and he's seen on-air mumbling "I had a brother on Tarsonis...I had a brother". Later the field reporter takes his position, stating he committed himself to a mental institution, "dressed only in his socks and in possession of the Emperor's manifesto and a pound of peanut butter".
    • Kerrigan has one of these in the New Gettysburg flashback: after she ran out of ammo, energy (her cloak failed), and had no other possible weapon of fighting the zerg, she tossed her IR goggles away, dropped her rifle (which we see clatter to the ground in slow motion), and stared up at the sky as the camera pulls away.
  • He's Back!: The first mission is made to establish this for Raynor, who has been reduced to a jaded wreck over the past three years and has decided to rise up once more. There's even an achievement called "Raynor's Back" in the mission.
  • Hold the Line: Their use is lampshaded when Raynor comments that with siege tanks and bunkers, you can Hold the Line against just about anything.
    • The third mission, a direct throwback to the third mission of the first game. They even take place on the same world, and probably close to the same location. The last mission of the main campaign also qualifies.
    • Also "The Dig", with the twist that "the line" is a gigantic Fricking Laser Drill. That can defend itself.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: If the player chooses to side with Nova over Tosh. When running away, Tosh threatens Raynor with a voodoo doll in his likeness, and then stabs it. Nothing happens, because Tosh has attuned the doll to the wrong person: Tychus. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Hopeless War: Four years have past since the first game, and Raynor feels his struggle against Emperor Mengsk has become this. Raynor may have inspired others to rise up, but no real progress has been made due to being marginalized by Mengsk, low morale, and lack of resources. Plus, the betrayals he's experienced over the years has reduced him into a jaded alcoholic.
  • Humanity Ensues: The ultimate accomplishment of the Terran campaign is to de-infest Kerrigan, though the reversion is not complete- she retains the dreadlock-like tentacles that let her control the zerg, and a deep-seated drive for revenge against Mengsk.
  • Hybrid Monster: The protoss/zerg hybrids that were merely in prototype back in the secret mission of Brood War are now beginning to awaken. We see two kinds, and they're both nightmarishly powerful and nigh-immortal. Picture something as intelligent and psychically powerful as the Protoss with the physical prowess and determination of the Zerg and you can tell the as-yet-unseen Greater-Scope Villain has some very nasty things in store for us. Oh, and it's implied that Mengsk and/or Dr. Emil Narud are behind their creation or at least in on the gig.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Literally in the case of the Protoss. Their new dropship is a flying robot called a "Warp Prism" which stores units in a teleportation matrix. It can also double as a warp-in point for new troops from a Warp Gate.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • At one point, Jim Raynor says that the Tal'darim "seriously need to learn when to quit." Not to belabor the point, but this is the guy who is attempting to bring down the largest political power in the sector, is willing to fight fanatical Protoss for money, and agrees to a plan to rescue Kerrigan, murderer of billions, from the Zerg. A sense of perspective is not Raynor's strong suit, apparently.
    • Medics sometimes cry "Medic!" when they die. Guess they can't Heal Thyself.
    • In the Bar Brawl cutscene, Tychus tells the others that they can't trust "that drunk" (Raynor). While being drunk himself and the least trustworthy guy in the faction next to Tosh.
    • Orlan, in the Cutthroat mission, says to Mira Han, after he had been hired by Raynor to hack into an Adjutant, but decided instead to sell the information to the Dominion.:
    "I'll show you what happens to double crossing backstabbers!"
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Throughout the game, Raynor is shown to be losing faith in his own revolution, especially when Kerrigan is thrown back into the mix, and Matt calls him out on it at one point as his personal feelings for Kerrigan interfering with his ability to lead. During the last mission as the artifact is about to activate, after you fend off Kerrigan for the last time, the human part of her mind calls out to Raynor and tells him not to give up. It works this time.
  • Improvised Weapon: When fighting a power-suited Tychus, Raynor (in civilian clothes) uses bottles and live wires to his advantage.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Two marines once insisted on calling a Medivac a "heal bus", much to the chagrin of its pilot. Eventually, the pilot murdered them because it was just that bad.
  • Informed Flaw:
    • The game constantly emphasizes that Raynor and his men are fairly small-time rebels working out of a single broken-down battlecruiser with limited supplies, manpower and funds. This doesn't stop them at all from building the Dominion's most recent and powerful units, making technological breakthroughs on the zerg and protoss that the Dominion has not, building up a max 200 supply army, and kicking the asses of all three races several times. Though some of his success can be chalked up to a protoss crystal in the lab supercharging the ship's systems, it doesn't explain everything. Finally becomes averted at the end of the game, when you're explicitly stated to be working with the Dominion and Valerian is helping to supply you with schematics and resources.
    • Raynor himself is mentioned to have lost his resolve over four years of fighting Mengsk to no impact and is on the edge of giving up the fight, is still haunted by what happened to Kerrigan, and is starting to drink more. However, outside of a few cutscenes directly addressing these things, Raynor still fights the Dominion with as much enthusiasm as ever, doesn't dwell too much on Kerrigan until the final missions where he starts working with Valerian to de-infest her, and while he carries a flask with him and spends a lot of time in the Hyperion cantina, he isn't drinking so much that his ability to command and make decisions are compromised.
  • In Working Order: The Xel'Naga artifact. Interestingly, Ariel Hanson notes that the artifact is thousands of years old, which is really young compared to most Xel'naga artifacts, which are millions of years old. Probably built around when they were uplifting the Protoss.
  • It's Personal: Kerrigan was the Confederate Ghost who killed Mengsk's father, mother, and little sister. This leads to Mengsk betraying her. Oh, and he killed a couple billion people and lied about the foundation of his empire. Mengsk's betrayal of Kerrigan pushes Raynor into rebelling against him, (although he may not know about the whole Kerrigan as a Confederacy Ghost thing) and is the reason he mentions most often in both StarCraft and StarCraft II. Horner even calls him out on it.
  • It's Raining Men: Mercenaries, MULEs, and a couple of protoss tech upgrades deliver units in orbital drop pods. The Zerg get their own equivalent of this in some campaign missions: some kind of purple, fleshy torpedo falling from the sky that unleashes zerglings and creates a Creep Tumor on the spot. The Protoss are exempt from this trope, presumably, because they just warp in units via teleportation.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: The two news reporters frequently do this at the beginning and end of their broadcasts. In particular, Donny grumbles about Kate upstaging him, and Kate is heard yelling in triumph after Donny suffers a mental breakdown and she is given the anchorship.
  • Kill It with Fire: Firebats, hellions, and perdition turrets aren't the most powerful units available, but they all do splash damage, making them excellent against the swarming, lightly-armored zerg. Plus, perdition turrets are hidden until they deploy; firebats are tough; hellions are quick. Both firebats and hellions get a campaign upgrade that widens the splash as well.
  • Knight Templar: The Tal'darim, a fanatical protoss faction that stayed behind in Aiur colonies has become quite xenophobic. In the mission "Maw of the Void", they've captured some Dark Templar, which will join you after you free them.
  • Large Ham: Maar IS PRETTY bad about THISSSS, as well as the heroes in the last Protoss mission (sans Mohandar, who isn't even that snarky to make up for it) There, in the face of total annihilation, they consume massive amounts of scenery, especially when they die:
    "Kerrigan...How could we had known!?"
  • Last Stand: "In Utter Darkness", where the Protoss—the last free race capable of standing up to the Fallen One—are wiped out in a single, glorious defensive action. May also count as a Crowning Moment Of Awesome for the Protoss species as a whole.
  • Leitmotif: A sequence of five notes, first played by a harmonica in the track "Public Enemy", when Tychus shows up before Raynor, recurs in the soundtrack, most triumphantly in "Fire and Fury", as Raynor finishes his Rousing Speech.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The Zerg. Marines/human infantry in general are not spared from this either.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Sort of. The characters spend most of the campaign collecting pieces of an artifact, including one left on a world whose sun goes supernova. The Big Bad also wants this artifact, and at the start of the final mission she even says "You've brought me the Xel'Naga artifact". However, perhaps she was mistaken about it, or was going to use it a different way, because it seems very effective at the purpose for which Raynor uses it, and which Kerrigan was trying to stop him doing so.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The banshee. Missile turrets and battlecruisers can be upgraded with this.
  • Made of Explodium:
    • The Aberration, when killed, turns grey and explodes in several different areas, culminating with its head exploding.
    • Banelings and Scourges also use this since suicide is their primary form of attack. The Aberration was originally going to be the same before it was turned into a melee fighter.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Probably Dr. Emil Narud. Emil means "to rival, to emulate, to copy". Now spell his last name backwards and consider the meaning of his first anew.
    • On a more prosaic note, take a wild guess as to the profession of Horace Warfield.
    • Also, Valerian's ship, the Bucephalus, is named after Alexander the Great's horse.
  • Mega Manning: How Raynor expands most of his arsenal in the campaign. The Raiders head to a new planet and either see some abandoned vehicles in the environment or get a gift of new units from an ally. Engineer Swann scans their schematics and voila, you've got your own set of blueprints and can manufacture them freely from now on. There's also the Research upgrades. As you collect protoss relics and zerg DNA samples, the Hyperion scientists learn more about the other two races and can eventually duplicate choice bits of their technology/biology for usage in your army.
  • Memory Jar: Jim is given a crystal that contains Zeratul's memories of what he learned about the Zerg and the Fallen One.
  • Mercenary Units: Between missions you can contract mercenary companies using the credits from completing missions, then during missions their units can be hired for fairly high mineral prices but they enter the scene immediately by drop pod and are significantly stronger than the standard versions.
  • Mini-Game: In the Cantina you can play Lost Viking, an arcade shooter style Bullet Hell game where you control the eponymous Lost Viking trying to make his way back to Vikingville, but watch out for the evil Terra-Tron, HE DOES NOT LIKE YOU.
  • Mind-Control Device: At the top of the campaign-only Zerg Research Tree, Egon uses a sample of the Overmind's DNA to create the "Hive Mind Emulator", a device that mimics the Zerg Overmind's transmissions, basically turning control of Zerg units over to you. It's invaluable on Char, where resources are scarce and those buggers outnumber your guys a-hundred-to-one.
  • Mood Whiplash: Depending on the order you play the missions in, you can go from the various NPCs happy to be onboard to mutinous and back to happy again in as many missions.
  • The Most Wanted: The beginning of the game has Tychus comment that for being the most wanted man in the Dominion, Raynor isn't hard to find. At this point, Raynor is a bitter and depressed drunk after Mengsk's betrayal and Kerrigan's transformation into the Queen of Blades, so Mengsk is probably trying to avoid the Streisand Effect or making him a martyr.
  • Mushroom Cloud: In addition to nukes, the Artifact gives off a huge, blue mushroom cloud if it is destroyed.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: A sizable chunk of the "Ghosts of the Past" trailer takes footage and voice-over out of context and puts them over each other in a way that results in a very different impression. The trailer as a whole frames Raynor as disillusioned with his fight and has lost his idealism in favor of focusing on vengeance against Arcturus, but he's motivated to become a better person and step up the revolution for the right reasons. None of this is true in the final product: Raynor hasn't given up or become disillusioned with his cause at all and is just laying low for a little bit before outside events cause the sector as a whole to enter a state of active warfare again. Matt's line "vengeance doesn't factor into this, our revolution's about freedom" is directed at an entirely different character, and the cinematic it plays over where Matt hands Raynor his badge is an entirely different scene and the gesture is meant to be encouraging when Raynor hits a (brief) schlump and Matt found him alone in the cantina. The trailer also shows a hologram of Arcturus saying "Raynor, you're in way over your head", but actually Arcturus is talking to someone else and Raynor's name is from an entirely different voice clip that was spliced in.
  • New Weapon Target Range: Nearly every mission is designed to rely specifically on the newly-introduced unit. Destroying trains? Meet the Diamondback, a hover tank that fires on the move. Lava planet with regular tides? Say hello to the Reaper, a jump pack-wearing soldier who can hop up to high ground. Huge energy fields that slowly disintegrate everything without Protoss shields? By happy coincidence, Battlecruisers (who have enough health to survive the field's effect until the generator can be destroyed with a few Yamato Cannon shots) are now available.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The normally stoic, deadpan and fearless Tosh is clearly wigged out from the Hybrid's psychic "scream" after the raid on the Dominion laboratory. invoked
    Blinding. Searing. Like the sun burning in your face with your eyes squeezed shut. I have never felt such a thing before. I hope I never do again.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: You play as Raynor's terrans and Zeratul's protoss, but never the zerg. That's for the expansion, after Kerrigan pulls a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted when Tychus is driving the Odin.
    Tychus: Well, now, these Dominion eggheads thought of everything. I'll be right back.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: The "victory" screen after "In Utter Darkness" instead reads "Glorious End", given that the Protoss don't "win" so much as "go out in a blaze of glory". A rare example of this occurring if you beat a level.
  • Nostalgia Level: The third mission is a direct throwback to the third terran mission of the original, and even takes place in the same areas of the same planet, Backwater Station on Mar Sara.
    • In the third-last one, you have to rescue General Warfield, a decorated general whom's been the greatest enemy against your faction. This is the exact same plot as the mission where you rescue Edmund Duke from the first game. To top it off, Warfield is also travelling in a green Battlecruiser that gets shot down, with almost exact same units Duke had (he has a couple medics though). Several other levels will also make you nostalgic. For example, the second-to-last mission has you choosing to cripple the enemy's air or ground capabilities before the final assault, which parallels the UED's mission where you choose to take out Mengsk's battlecruisers or ghosts in Brood War.
    • The secret mission could be described fairly accurately as "Dark Origins but with Raynor instead of Zeratul".
  • Not Completely Useless:
    • Regenerative Bio-Steel is generally considered worthless compared Cellular Reactor, largely due to how slowly mechanical units heal using it. But in Ghost of a Chance, you get access to mechanical units but no SCVs or Science Vessels to repair them. Regenerative Bio-Steel can be very useful with proper micro or even just pulling the entire force back after a few shots to whittle away your enemies over time.
    • Orbital Strike is widely agreed to be inferior to the Tech Reactor but it can be useful on missions where the win condition is to destroy a specific structure(s), such as "Maw of the Void" or "Gates of Hell". Allowing troops to be deployed right at the objective greatly reduces how much enemy opposition the player needs to fight.
    • The Planetary Fortress upgrade for (Orbital) Command Centers tends to get passed up for Perdition Turrets due to the latter's ability to be built for cheap across multiple locations, but the Planetary has its merits for being very durable and effective wall at key points for your forces to take cover behind. In short, instead of using the Planetary to protect your mining bases, you build it at strategic points to absorb enemy abuse while your army deals the real damage.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The Zeratul missions don't give you access to sentries because all three missions where he commands a base would benefit from you having Force Field to block choke points into your base. The final mission in particular, where you stage a Last Stand and have to defend your base for a given amount of time, would be plum easy if you were allowed sentries.

    However, this just means you need to find alternative baracades that arguably work even better such as making a wall of Gateways or a group of Dark Templar standing shoulder-to-shoulder on "hold position".
  • Officer and a Gentleman:
    • General Warfield. After seeing Raynor risk his life to save the Dominion soldiers under his command during the invasion of Char, Warfield realizes that Raynor is a good person and states that it was an honor to fight shoulder to shoulder with him.
    • Raynor himself, though rough around the edges, also classifies. Raynor is always respectful to his crew and is willing to risk his life to save strangers.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • What the player thinks upon hearing: "Alert. Class twelve psionic waveform detected." In case you're wondering, yes, that scale normally goes up to ten. And yes, it is exactly who you think it is.
    • The player will also think this if they hear the words "Nuclear launch detected" and have no idea where it's about to land.
  • One Bullet Left: Done thematically. Raynor's revolver only has one bullet left, and it's meant for Arcturus. He almost wastes it on Valerian (who he mistakes for Arcturus), and ultimately sacrifices it to save Kerrigan from Tychus.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder:
    • The Lost Viking game in the Cantina; the aformentioned lost viking dies from one hit (without any power-ups) in a Bullet Hell-type game. Good luck.
    • The Zerg Changeling. The unit can be spawned from the overseer, and is designed to imitate an enemy unit so it can scout your opponent's base. It technically has five hit points, but everything in the game— including workers— does at least five damage.
  • One-Man Army: If you thought some of the heroes in the original game were strong, wait until you see the Odin. In addition, an achievement for one mission where you're required to get 50 kills with Zeratul is called One Man Army.
  • Outrun the Fireball: The "Supernova" mission. And the end of the "Belly of the Beast" mission.
  • Parody Commercial: One appears as a late game cutscene, advertising Level 800 Elite Tauren Marines albums.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Once you invade Char, you can't complete any missions from other arcs, nor can you play Lost Viking anymore. At least you're warned of this beforehand.
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something: Some artifact pieces, when put together, actually come in handy in the final level, instead of just acting as an "I Win" button if you hold out long enough.
  • Powered Armor: With the Orbital Strike research, they even come in drop pods. Even without that research, there are some cases where the drop pods are used, such as for infantry mercenaries.
  • Power Up Letdown: Some of the Armory and Research upgrades are not worth it.
    • The Wraith can be upgraded to evade 20% of attacks when cloaked, but given that it's already a Fragile Speedster, a 1/5 chance to dodge an attack doesn't do that much to improve its survivability.
    • Diamondbacks can be upgraded for +1 range, but the whole point of the unit is that they move fairly quick and can attack while moving — if a unit is out of range, it's probably because you aren't controlling them well or you're retreating, and +1 range won't do that much to improve their ability to kite enemies. That aside, the Diamondback is a very niche unit anyway and the campaign has little usage for its kiting abilities.
    • With 5 Protoss research, you can unlock Vanadium Plating, which causes armor upgrades to boost units' health in addition to armor. However, the other option in the same tier is Ultra Capacitors, a boost to attack speed with each weapon upgrade; considering how little health you gain from Vanadium Plating and how poor most Terran units are at tanking damage, Ultra Capacitors boosts your army's survivability more since killing enemies faster means they deal less damage to you.
    • The Shrike Turret touts that it's an auto-turret that lets Bunkers contribute to base defense even if they're unmanned, but if you're building Bunkers and not manning them, you're doing it wrong. Besides, the firepower it offers is only equivalent to an un-upgraded, unstimmed Marine — not a lot. The counterpart upgrade, +150 HP for Bunkers, is far more useful.
    • Regenerative Bio-Steel lets all your mechanical units slowly regenerate health, but the regen rate is very low (at a paltry 0.6 health per second), only marginally higher than Zerg's natural regneration, so it's very inefficient to rely on that for healing. Besides, you can see on the same screen that Science Vessels with Nano-Repair are coming on the Protoss research tree and they'll heal your mechs way better. And for extra irony, Science Vessels benefit from Cellular Reactor, the other upgrade on the same tier as Bio-Steel.
    • The third tier of Zerg Research is often noted for being underwhelming. The Hercules Dropship typically chosen by default as the Predator robot is a niche-use anti-melee robot that costs a whopping 100/100 minerals/gas respectively and is merely a mechanical alternative to the Firebat. On the plus side, the Hercules Dropship gets kudos for being virtually as tough as a battlecruiser (500 HP!) and a safer way to ferry an army around the map than the Medivac. Drop play isn't a major part of the campaign however.
    • The final tier of Protoss Research has the Orbital Strike option that let's you air-drop all your Barracks infantry to rally points. It has some uses (like Speed Running certain maps), but you lose the stellar Tech Reactors that let you double-build any combat unit, save for mercenaries and conserve a hefty sum of real estate in your base.
  • Previously on…: Due to the game being made episodic in nature as of Legacy, each episode now comes with a cinematic called "The Story So Far", which gives a summary of the story of the game to date.
  • Private Military Contractors: The mercenaries in the single-player campaign. They're actually quite badass, with much more impressive unit models and more powerful statistics. If you hire all of them, you get the achievement "Band of Legends". If you manage to call in all available units in a mission, you'll see why.
  • Psycho Prototype / Flawed Prototype: Spectres—next-generation ghosts—depending on who you ask and who you believe. Their psychic powers are more destructive, they're harder to control, and they tend to be more eccentric in general, but they're also under fewer mind-control implants than ghosts and, unlike ghosts, are all volunteers (at least to become spectres; those who were previously ghosts, like Tosh himself, were not so lucky with the initial stage of training).
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Ohhh, boy: a nerd, a Mr. Fixit, a mercenary contractor, an idealist, renegades...we can continue all night long. Lampshaded by both Raynor and Matt, after the mission "Media Blitz":
    Raynor: You know, Matt? Someday, you're going to lead this bunch of misfits.
    Matt: Oh, no... that's what I keep you around for... sir.
    (Cue some laughs)
  • Red Shirt: Dominion units are red colored in the terran campaign and get killed by the thousands while their general, Horace Warfield wears off-white armour and lives. Doubles with Red Shirt Army.
    • This is especially amusing considering that warfield's armor is stylized in a cammo pattern, which sticks out line a sore-thumb on the volcanic Char. Whereas the Red Shirts have red armor which would blend in much better with that environment and actually be more effective cammo, than the cammo Warfield was wearing.
  • Reinventing the Wheel: Averted and played straight in the campaign. Averted in that unit abilities (Marine shields and stimpacks, bunker capacity, etc., which need to be researched in multiplayer) are purchased and then stay with you for the rest of the campaign, while damage and armor upgrades are reset for every mission.
  • Resource-Gathering Mission:
    • Tosh's first mission is to collect minerals on a lava planet with regular tides. All the minerals are in low-lying ground where the lava instantly kills any unit still on it, though fortunately there are high-yield minerals which give you more minerals per trip, in addition to the pickups dotting the map. This is the mission that introduces the Jet Pack-wearing Reapers, who are ideally suited for grabbing mineral pickups on cliffs or grabbing them quickly before the tide comes in.
    • One mission has you and Colonel Orlan competing to be the first to buy off Mira Han's mercenary contract. You can collect minerals in large respawning chunks around the map, in addition to slowing Orlan's rate of gathering by attacking his bases.
    • The "Welcome to the Jungle" mission has you steal terrazine gas from a Protoss world, forcing you to protect your fragile SCVs as they process the gas. Unlike the other missions, destroying the Protoss forces gets you an instant win (and an achievement).
  • Retcon:
    • Everything the zerg Overmind did in the first game, from infesting Kerrigan to the invasion of Aiur, was an attempt to circumvent the Dark Voice's plans. The Overmind couldn't resist its xel'naga programming, so it arranged its own destruction, transferring control of the Swarm to the hopefully-independent Kerrigan.
    • Also, as seen in some of the earliest trailers, the scene of Kerrigan's infestation is changed too. Originally occurring on a platform called New Gettysburg over Tarsonis, StarCraft II shows it taking place on the surface of Tarsonis in a city of the same name. (That has been retconned since the campaign's novelization, Liberty's Crusade, came out. Also, the city called New Gettysburg was in a mission that was cut from the original game, possibly adding to the confusion. And the orbital platforms did exist, as seen in the artwork of the recap slideshow that plays while the game is loading.)
  • Reverse Escort Mission: The Odin mission has Tychus swtich off his comms by "accident" before he decides to have a fun little rampage through several Dominion bases. Normally this would be a painful Escort Mission... except on most difficulties, he'll have little trouble clearing out most of them by himself. On harder difficulties, you need to heal him with SCVs and provide anti-air support but he's still making your life significantly easier.
  • Rise to the Challenge: Twice. The mission "The Devil's Playground" (your first Tosh mission) has the lower levels flooding every few minutes, forcing you to evacuate before your units die. Another mission ("Supernova") has you having to relocate your base due to a fire barrier consuming everything at its way. And a later mission ("Belly of the Beast") has you outrunning a rising lava river as you try to escape a cave.
  • Robo Speak: The damaged Confederate adjutant, the raven, and (to a lesser extent) the science vessel (which is not actually a robot) and standard adjutants, as well.
  • Rousing Speech: Raynor gives one to the surviving Terrans on Char in a cutscene prior to the final mission (may have been unintentional, but the marines chose to listen to him anyway). Also, in the side-mission "In Utter Darkness", Artanis gives an epic one when he arrives on the battlefield prior to everyone getting killed by the zerg and the Hybrids in an apocalyptic Bad Future.
  • Safely Secluded Science Center: A secret mission involves investigating a Dominion research facility located on an asteroid in the Castanar system, a non-descript star system on the fringe of Dominion space. The Raiders find the Dominion has been experimenting with Hybrids, and then one of them gets loose...
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: In case regular protoss weren't dogmatic enough for you, the terran campaign features the Tal'Darim, who don't really care for humans at all and swear bloody revenge on you every time you help yourself to something they're guarding.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: The Battle of Char. Mengsk wants an explanation from Valerian as to why he took half of the Dominion's fleet to Char to invade it and stop Kerrigan, but the Flashpoint novel that comes after says that apparently, half the fleet translates to 25 battlecruisers, each with a few thousand crew members. Considering that otherwise Blizzard has been pretty notable on the scale of the wars being fought in the Koprulu sector, with death tolls in the millions when the zerg attack a planet, it's rather jarring for one of the premier powers of the sector to only have a few dozen battlecruisers and barely a hundred thousand standing forces.
  • Schrödinger's Gun:
    • The mission setup and outcome for the "Haven" missions. A protoss named Selendis is preparing to annihilate every community on a planet because some of them are infected with zerg parasites. You can choose to help out in slaughtering the infested terrans or to tell her to back off and fight her because the colony's doctor insists she can cure the infested humans (and incidentally, Selendis doesn't take it personally if you fight her). If you choose to fight off the Protoss, the "infested colonists" are represented by about five guys with tentacles in a holding pen and the rest of the colony is just fine. If you choose "exterminate the infection," the entire colony is a pulsating, writhing mass of Meat Moss. So either way, your actions are justified.
    • In addition, if you decide not to cleanse the Colony, the Doctor is seen walking off afterwards just fine. If you DO decide to cleanse it, turns out she was secretly harboring a Zerg infection, and turns after. Same thing happens in "Breakout"/"Ghost of a Chance": if you side with Tosh, Dr. Hanson will reveal that Nova was lying about Spectres being incurably insane, but if you side with Nova, the mission itself will confirm that Tosh was using a psionic waveform indoctrinator.
      • Actually, Ariel Hansen was not originally infected. Through conversations, you learn she was working on a zerg cure, but at the time of the Haven missions, it was not complete. If you decide to purge the colonies, during the mission you receive an audio transmission that she's locked herself in the laboratory. She becomes so desperate to finish the cure to save her people that she tests it on herself, but in the process infects herself. Raynor has to personally put her down after the mission is over.
  • Self-Healing Phlebotinum: The Protoss crystal in the lab gives this power to the Hyperion. An late optional upgrade in the campaign allows all Terran buildings to slowly self-repair; and a Zerg upgrade allows vehicles to self-repair, by alloying zerg tissue with metal to make a regenerating memory-material. Somehow.
  • Separate, but Identical: Raynor and the Dominion have access to most of the same units. Some of the old units like wraiths, science vessels, firebats and vultures are less-commonly used by the Dominion since according to the lore these units are obsolete and are being/have been replaced by newer units, but they're still around.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • "Cuttthroat" can be beaten pretty quick and easily without ever needing to hire Mira's mercenaries. This is primarily due to the placement of Orlan's Planetary Fortress command center as it can be reached from the low ground outside of his base by spamming nukes upon it. Or if you have the Planetary Fortress lab upgrade unlocked, you can lift your own command center while picking up 5 SCVs, drop it next to Orlan's command center, and turn your command center into a PF to destroy his while your SCVs are there for repair duty.
    • It's possible to do some of "Engine of Destruction" backwards if you have the right tech unlocked. Battlecruisers or Ghost/Spectres for nuking specifically. If you manage to destroy the 5th and possibly even the 4th Dominion bases before it's time to escort the Odin to head towards them, the mission will end a lot earlier than it's supposed to.
    • The Drop Pods lab upgrade gives the player the potential to finish "Maw of the Void" in just a couple minutes compared to having to build up a huge army of Battlecruisers to push across the map. This is due to one specific spot next to the vault containing the Artifact fragment that enemy detection can't reach. So it's possible to drop in several cloaked Ghosts/Spectres next to it, and drop a few nukes to cheese the vault structure.
    • A significant part of "Gates of Hell," the third-to-last mission, can be skipped with the same Drop Pods lab upgrade. You're supposed to fight your way to an ally's downed ship, except Drop Pods let your infantry deploy straight to their rally point from orbit, letting a single Marine complete the mission for you seconds after the objective comes up.
  • She's Not My Girlfriend: There's a moment of this for Jim Raynor in regards to Nova.
    Swann: (referring to Nova) Your girl pulled through all right.
    Raynor: She ain't my girl, Swann.
    Swann: I don't know, scary female assassin type who would wind up trying to kill you? She seems like your type hotshot.
  • Shoot the Television: Jim Raynor does this in the opening cutscenes, when Emperor Mengsk refers to him as "a clear and present threat" to the Dominion during a news conference interview. He later gets a note from the owner billing him for the damages, and in another bar, the TV has a note on it that says, "Do not shoot screen!"
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Tosh's attitude toward Matt Horner's vision of good future after you succeed in rescuing the Spectres.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: This is essentially the mood for the cinematic A Better Tomorrow. After breaking open New Folsom prison, Matt Horner believes that their real victory was releasing everyone who ever spoke out against Mengsk. That the point of their revolution is to build a better tomorrow. Tosh scoffs at this and calls it naive; claiming that tyranny can only be succeeded by tyranny, and that one can only fight the present enemy. Raynor is in the middle, believing that Matt's better future will arrive; but those fighting out of hatred and revenge, like him and Tosh, will have no place in it.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The Protoss crystal aboard the Hyperion plays a major role in making the ship very competitive with recent developments in starship technology. The crystal is even suggested by Egon to be sentient and helping his research and correcting problems with the Hyperion's old hardware and power requirements.
  • Smart Bomb:
    • During the final Terran mission.
    • And, of course, the bomb in Lost Viking.
  • Spent Shells Shower:
    • This trope is used to good effect to show how utterly screwed General Warfield and his men on Char are. Even with the insane amount of dakka inherent with this trope they don't so much as slow the incoming wave of zerg down.
    • Also inverted when Raynor guns down a certain hydralisk. You only see one shell drop, and it's that one shot that brings the hydra down. The shell is big enough that it embeds itself in the ground with a thunk, like nothing so much as the Ring in The Lord of the Rings films when Bilbo finally lets go and drops it to the floor.
    • Basically happens every time Tychus shoots in-game. He's carrying a Minigun, and it leaves a pile of shells at his feet every time he fires it.
  • Story Branching: At three points along the campaign:
    • During the final Colonist mission, it is revealed that some of the refugees you've just finished rescuing from Meinhoff were infected with zerg spores, and their new colony world just happens to be right next to Protoss space. The protoss detect the infection and arrive to glass the planet to be on the safe side, leaving you with the choice of either siding with the Colonists against the purification fleet (the colony's doctor is adamant that she's moments away from perfecting a cure) or siding with the protoss in exterminating the zerg (due to Schrödinger's Gun, choosing to do so reveals that the "infection" has been tremendously worse than previously thought, with the colony being virtually overwhelmed with monsters and the doctor's "cure" failing and turning her into a hideous zerg creature that needs to be euthanized). In gameplay terms, the only lasting difference between the two is the type of research points you receive in return.
    • During the final Covert mission, you need to choose between siding with your old ally, Tosh, in breaking out his Super-Soldier friends out of The Alcatraz, or with the Dominion Ghost Nova in shutting him down (she insists that he is a madman and that the people he's trying to "rescue" are in-fact innocents he's captured and brainwashed into murderers). Both choices lead to a mission focusing on the operative (either Tosh or Nova), a permanently cloaked, extremely powerful sniper with many special abilities as they have to take out a giant enemy base practically by themselves, either on the planet's surface or on a secret space station. Once again, Schrödinger's Gun rears up its head: siding with Tosh reveals that Nova was lying and that the rescued Super Soldiers are professional (if somewhat eccentric) volunteers, whilst siding with Nova confirms that Tosh is a psychotic megalomaniac raising an indoctrinated army who was planning to murder Raynor all along. In the long run, the mission affects whether you will receive Ghosts or Specters as an additional unit.
    • Right before the final mission on Char, you must choose between one of two missions in order to give yourself a strategic advantage in the following battle. Tychus suggests descending into the nydus network with a small team and planting bombs in key locations in order to cripple one of the zerg's only means of transportation, while Warfield suggests bringing down the orbital platform housing most of the zerg flier hives, resulting in them having no air forces to spare during the final mission. Both missions provide a legitimate advantage in the final battle, so which one the player chooses would likely depend on their preferred style and which type of enemy scares them most - although it's worth pointing out that most people consider Tychus' mission (which has a unique gameplay style and involves controlling a small group of likable, funny, powerful hero units) vastly more fun than Warfield's (which is a completely standard base-building, enemy-base-attacking battle with no frills on it). On the other hand, the final mission when the Zerg have air support is widely viewed as significantly more difficult, so on that note Warfield's choice may help you in the long run.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: A few of the "commando" missions feature this. You have the option of, for example, unleashing a bunch of caged test subjects upon Dominion soldiers. If you do a little exploration, one such mission even lets you unleash an Ultralisk upon the enemy (note that you have to fight whatever survives the initial confrontation, so releasing the Ultralisk is ill-advised).
  • Super Prototype: The Odin, a prototype Thor. It is implied the Dominion intended for the Odin to be replicated exactly, but for whatever reason they settled on the weaker Thor. According to Rory, the Odin is a piece-of-junk showpiece made to show off to the Dominion public during its demonstration. Rory goes on to tell us the Thor isn't as strong as the Odin but is less expensive to produce and maintain. Which is probably why the Raiders only use it in two missions, given their limited resources. Well, that and it's so big even the Hyperion can't haul it around.
  • Sweet Home Alabama: The Terrans, as usual. The ship's bar even plays the Trope Namer song (well, a cover).
  • Take That!: Fish. Barrel. The media.
    Donny Vermillion: Ladies and gentlemen, each night I bring you the news in the most fair and balanced manner possible.
  • Take Your Time: Generally averted in the missions themselves. However, in campaign mode, the player has a fair amount of control about which order they perform the missions in. Therefore, a mission can become available and the player can choose to do half a dozen other missions before tackling it. That's all well and good when your job is just to raid a location and recover an artifact, but a bit odd when the mission involves evacuating a planet under attack or recovering an artifact from a planet where the sun is going supernovanote . Needless to say, you'll always arrive before (and just before) the sun goes supernova or the people you're trying to help are slaughtered by the zerg. Valerian actually encourages this at the start of the Maw of the Void mission.
    Valerian: Take your time, commander. I'd rather do this right and get the artifact.
  • Tattered Flag: A battered, bullet-riddled Dominion flag appears in the beginning of the cutscene "Fire and Fury", representing the damaged-but-defiant condition of the Terran troops themselves.
  • Technology Marches On: A lot of the campaign-only units are Too Awesome to Use (in multiplayer) or would even be Game Breakers, but a few others that are returning units from the first game are demonstratably inferior to their new counterparts—minus their mines and a slight speed advantage, Vultures aren't as nearly effective as Hellions, and Wraiths aren't quite as effective as either Vikings and Banshees. This is even lampshaded in-universe: Swann says that Vulture bikes are deathtraps, while Raynor says they're a classic piece of engineering. (Possibly also a lampshade of the Broken Base.)
    • Biology marches on too, apparently. Some of the zerg samples you bring Egon are from sub-species of Zerg that are no longer used as playable units, like the Defiler. Apparently Kerrigan just isn't using those types of zerg any more, which is why samples of them have become rare and valuable for examiners. On the same note, some of the zerg breeds have evolved into massive beasts of destruction like the Leviathan or the Omegalisk.
    • On the other hand, some old-school Terran units are still just as effective as ever. Goliaths remain well-balanced units with a nice antiair niche, and the classic Medic can now be upgraded to heal faster and use less energy, which in tandem with lower build time and costs can make it superior to the Medivac in some situations. Unedited medics inserted into a certain custom game that adds Brood War units to the standard cache of StarCraft II units result in completely overpowered Terran infantry for melee games.
  • Tempting Fate: Before the third mission, Tychus sees a decorated trophy Hydralisk skull on the wall and wonders how good a deal they would get on hunting some zerg. Then the mission starts:
    Raynor: I've got transport coming to pick us up. All we got to do is sit tight.
    Tychus: Don't sound too hard. I figure, we earned ourselves a little R&R.
    Adjutant: Commander, I'm detecting a massive concentration of Zerg bio-signatures landing at the abandoned dig site.
    Raynor: I should have know it. Damn you, Tychus!
    Tychus: I swear man, I didn't know nothing about no Zerg.
    • Tychus also does this before "Supernova"; he mentions that the planet Typhon "don't look so bad". Naturally, this is just before the star's output jumps 500 percent, which makes things a lot tougher for the Raiders...and the player.
  • This Is Reality: Tychus worries that the artifacts you've collected will put a hole in the space-time continuum. Raynor assures him that "This ain't science fiction!"
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: A lot of the campaign missions are designed specifically to put to use the new unit introduced in that mission:
    • Reapers are fast moving raiders that can jump up and down cliffs and are designed mostly for harassing enemy workers (and other light units) and taking out lightly defended outposts. Their introductory mission revolves scouring the map for resources, taking out small zerg bases, and avoiding regular lava surges.
    • Hellions are fast moving units that get a bonus against light armor. Naturally, they're introduced in a mission where you not only have to hold off hordes of enemies all night, but also need to destroy buildings during the day then get back to base before the sun goes down. To make it even more obvious, said mission is the only time in the franchise that buildings have light armor.
    • The Diamondbacks can attack on the move and do additional damage to armored units—they're introduced in a mission ("The Great Train Robbery") where you need to chase down fast armored units.
    • Vultures are notable for three things: They move fast, they're cheap, and they can lay down mines. Naturally, they're introduced on a mission where you need to spend some time hoarding as many resources as possible, securing resources from around the map, and holding off the occasional attack by the computer.
    • The battlecruisers are slow to move, slow to build, expensive and ultimately plain inferior compared to a balanced fleet of banshees and vikings, but the mission they're introduced in features rift fields that slowly drain the HP of units. Only the battlecruiser has enough HP to fly into the fields, fight, and escape back to base before being destroyed.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The artifact's energy nova takes several minutes to recharge when used, so make sure you only use when it absolutely need to. One of the achievements is to complete the mission on Hard difficulty and only use the nova once, so you'd better make damn sure you make that one usage of it count (the one use you are allowed is likely meant for about one minute before the timer is up and you get attacked like crazy). Also, a lot of the campaign-only upgrades and units are too powerful for Multiplayer. You're going to need everything for the final mission, though. It's not called "All In" for nothing.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • The AI simply does not know when to run from a fight in the single-player campaign. In "Smash and Grab" you have to grab an alien artifact from a Tal'darim base before the Zerg overrun them on another front. Rather than pull their units back to regenerate their shields and wait for the next attack wave after fending off the Zerg, the Tal'darim will send their units down the lane into battle and get themselves utterly crushed. And then in "Media Blitz", despite commanding the Odin with 2500 HP and enough firepower to kill any enemy unit in two shots, any Dominion defenders you come across, even if it's just a lone Marine, will charge in and start firing.
    • Subverted by the Tal'darim Executor in "Maw of the Void", who will fight you, then teleport away after taking enough damage to regenerate his shields and energy. He does this two or three times.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The final commercial trailer for the game ruins the surprise twist that Raynor allies with Valerian Mengsk (though not the reason Raynor agrees), and that at some point he returns to Char.
  • Tripod Terror: Technically, Colossi have four legs, but they still fit the spirit of this trope, since they're gargantuan walkers on long legs whose primary attack is frying the enemy from a distance with a sweeping heat ray, just like the Martians in the War of the Worlds. As a bonus, those long legs aren't just for show—they can walk right over cliffs, giving them a good mobility advantage.
  • Units Not to Scale:
    • You're able to fit pretty much your entire army and whatever colonists you rescued from Mar Sara inside the Hyperion. Of course, when units are to scale it's a lot harder to see the fine details (see games like Supreme Commander), which is why Blizzard went with this. At the other extreme, an actual to-scale battlecruiser would probably occupy most of the screen. They're more or less explicitly stated to mid-sized flying cities, with crews larger than 6,000. You might actually be able to run an entire revolution out of just one.
    • Several buildings can also produce units far too big to fit inside, like the Thor and Battlecruiser.
    • Lampshaded with the Odin: it's only a tad bit bigger than the Thor in-game, but Swann specifically notes that it's too big to even fit inside the hanger, while apparently you can fit multiple Thors inside.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Invoked by Tychus when Stetmann lectures the group on Banelings.
    Stetmann: "Those things are pretty nasty. Next time you should try not to let them splash you.
    Tychus: "Thanks for the advice, son. Now shut up."
  • Unwitting Pawn: As a result of working for the Moebius Foundation, Raynor unwittingly ends up allying with the Dominion he had been fighting with all along, though in the form of Valerian Mengsk, not Artcurus. On top of that, it seems that both have been double-suckered by a third party. Poor Jimmy seems to get suckered at every plot twist and turn since the first game.
    • Heart Of The Swarm reveals that both Raynor and the Dominion were indeed double-suckered—by Emil Narud, who is really a servant to Amon, whom the former has been trying to resurrect.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: The first cutscene showing Swann shows that his console is identical to the one the player uses when selecting upgrades for units. Apparently he personally arranges it so that every single piece of hardware has but two possible upgrades—no more, no less. Seems an odd way of doing things.
  • Voodoo Doll: Tosh likes them. Although sometimes his aim is a little off.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The Tal'darim, who give an excuse for TvP levels in the campaign. Subverted as of Heart of the Swarm, when it's revealed they work alongside Narud.
  • War Is Glorious: Reconstructed with flair near the end of the game. Fighting the zerg is still horriffic and suicidal, but "some things are just worth fighting for". So Raynor rallies the troops with a private monologue that just accidentally happens to be broadcasted to all marines on Char. And in the end the terrans manage to leave a positive impact on the greater story of the universe for the first time ever. Hell yeah!
    Mengsk: Make no mistake, war is coming. With all of its glory, and all of its horror.
  • Wave-Motion Gun:
    • The battlecruisers return with the Yamato cannon, while the void ray is a ship built around a Wave Motion Gun.
    • In a campaign mission you control the Drakken laser drill, which is a Wave Motion Gun on a mount. It can take out archons in less than three seconds. In perspective, Tychus says the Laser Drill puts out about 180 gigawatts of power.
  • Weaksauce Weakness
    • The High Templar's feedback ability vs Maar. A single shot of feedback is enough to drain Maar's energy to prevent him from using his special abilities as well as taking out a good chunk of his shields. As a result, he's nowhere nearly as a dangerous he would be normally.
    • A bumper for a news story claims zerglings are allergic to lemon juice. It turns out to be true.
    • In the final mission, you need to deal with periodic attacks from an enemy hero unit that can single-handedly crush your defenses with an area-of-effect attack that damages units and buildings alike, a One-Hit KO ability, and a powerful normal attack. However, it gets a lot easier if you open the map editor and examine the unit — their One-Hit KO can only be used on mechanical units, and they have a hidden passive ability similar to the Immortal's hardened shields, that reduces all incoming damage to 10. This means the best way to kill the hero quickly is a wave Marines, who have low damage but attack quickly — a comparatively small group of Marines can drop the hero in seconds.
  • We Have Reserves: Kerrigan demonstrates that the species that is the Trope Namer for Zerg Rush still holds to that line of thinking after more than ten years. She practically lampshades it.
    "My forces are without number."
  • Wham Episode: The entirety of Zeratul's mini-campaign. Starting on Zhakul, we have our first contact with an active hybrid. It's all but immortal and gets stronger every time you defeat it. After that, there's the trip to Aiur in which we learn not only that Tassadar is still alive, for a given value of alive, but also what the Overmind's true motivation for creating Kerrigan was and realize it wasn't as evil as we'd thought. Lastly, and the most whammy of them all, the Overmind's vision of the future, in which we learn what happens if Kerrigan is killed. You control the last remnants of the protoss race against the immensely powerful Dark Voice and his army of hybrids and zerg. It ends with the Dark Voice extinguishing the star you're orbiting and presumably destroying all life in the universe.
  • What a Piece of Junk: Raynor and Swann have a tense discussion about vulture hover-bikes. Swann thinks the model is a deathtrap. Raynor, having iconically owned one himself, is not amused.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The implication that the zerg were hounding the colonists specifically so they could get their claws on Dr. Hanson has yet to be followed up on.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Raynor laments about the wall of fire in the Supernova opening cinematic with this trope.
    Raynor: Why did it have to be fire?
  • The World Must Know The Truth:
    • What drives the Revolution/Matt Horner missions. They manage to show to the Dominion civilians all the truth about its foundation, thus unmasking Mengsk and starting a revolution.
    • Also the reason Kate Lockwell reports the way she does, to the ire of Donny Vermillion: She became disillusioned after meeting Michael Liberty in an Expanded Universe story.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: The Xel'Naga artifact's purpose, calibrated to harm only zerg. When fully powered at the last level, it destroys the entire Primary Hive Cluster on Char, and de-infests Kerrigan to boot.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Happens when Tychus Findlay asks Jim Raynor about what it was like fighting the Zerg.
    Tychus: What it was like, Jimmy? Fightin' them...Zerg?
    Raynor: All the scrapes were in back in the day, all the narrow escapes...none of it compares to how terrible they are, Tychus. You don't know what real fear is until you've got a thousand of these sons of bitches bearing down on you.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Happens in the Overmind's vision where the zerg, commanded by the hybrids, who are themselves puppets of a greater power, are used to destroy the last protoss army, and then the hybrids are used to kill them, themselves, and every other living thing in the universe. Most, uh...Triumphant, for lack of a better term, Example?
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The mission "Outbreak" is pretty much this. Tychus even lampshades this by saying "I think I saw this in a movie once!" You have to fend off hordes of infested terrans during the night and counterattack during the day. There are often hundreds attacking at once...fortunately, individually they're pretty weak, most of them have no ranged attack, and flamethrowers and other area-effect weapons are pretty good at mowing them down. Hell, one of the achievements for the mission is also called "28 Minutes Later".


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Wings Of Liberty


Jim Raynor

While the dictator Mengsk is giving a presser smearing Raynor's rebellion as a violent terrorist sect, Raynor shuts him up by putting a bullet through the TV. Probably not for the first time as later, aboard the Hyperion, the cantina's television has a sticky note saying, "Don't shoot at screen".

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShootTheTelevision

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