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Video Game / StarCraft II

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"Hell... it's about time."
Tychus Findlay.

StarCraft II is a Real-Time Strategy game by Blizzard Entertainment, and is the long-awaited sequel to StarCraft. The game was released in three installments, with each one focusing on a different race of the game.

The Terran campaign, Wings of Liberty, was released on July 27th, 2010. Set four years after the events of the Brood War, the campaign focuses on rebel hero Jim Raynor and the Raynor's Raiders, and their efforts to take down the corrupt empire called the Terran Dominion, led by Emperor Arcturus Mengsk. The Zerg campaign, Heart of the Swarm, was released on March 12th, 2013, and focuses on Sarah Kerrigan, an assimiliated human psionic who has risen to dominance within the Zerg broods, and her efforts to find a place for herself (and the Zerg) in a new and changed Koprulu Sector. Legacy of the Void, the Protoss campaign, was released on November 10th, 2015. It stars Artanis, head of the Protoss military, as he attempts to unite the fractious Protoss clans into a single whole. For there is a new Big Bad to face, one who embodies the most cherished dreams of the Zerg: to assimilate the Protoss and hybridize the two races into something new. Well, our new Big Bad has managed to do just that...

Campaign gameplay of the sequel varies greatly from the original, where mission play was broken up by briefs of talking heads. In-between missions players are able to explore a mission hub area with other characters to talk to, research and technology specialists to discuss army options with, and occasionally a chance to see what's happening beyond the current region of space. Players are able to play through mission in almost any order (restrictions vary depending on the game and specific mission) and each mission spotlights a specific unit and the mission's gameplay is tailored to highlight that unit's strengths, providing players strategy and variance in how they choose to experience the story and grow their army. Each game also has its own unique systems by which the player can upgrade their army, sometimes one unit at a time and sometimes applying benefits on a more general scale.

Like StarCraft and Brood War previously had, StarCraft II has a prominent competitive scene, complete with professional teams, paid players, tournaments and sponsors. Blizzard caught on to the importance of the pro-gaming scene and built SC2 from the ground up around Competitive Balance while providing extensive first-party global tournament infrastructure. They also regularly solicit feedback from top players regarding the Metagame and act on certain suggestions, keeping the balance fresh.

During the ramp-up to Heart of the Swarm, Brian Kindregan, lead writer of said expansion and co-lead writer of Wings of Liberty, has taken to answering some of the fans' questions about post-Brood War additions to StarCraft lore. There are thirteen installments total, the last of which is located here. (Links to the prior twelve are included at the bottom of the article.)

This series also has its own Shout-Out page here, as well as information about its professional teams and their members in Professional Gaming under the real time strategy folder.

The three acts of StarCraft II, along with the post-trilogy mission DLCs, are on their own pages:

It is interesting to note that with the release of Legacy of the Void, the game was made modular and episodic, and newcomers could choose to buy either one of the three episodes first- one no longer needs to buy Wings of Liberty to play Heart of the Swarm and subsequently Legacy of the Void. Of course, the recommended way to play the game is to go by release order due to story progression (and The Wings of Liberty campaign has since been made free).

After the release of Legacy, Blizzard has announced their intention to continue the story line with DLC mission packs and released a campaign focuses on Nova consisting of three such pacs, with the first set of missions released on March 29, 2016.

The StarCraft II trilogy as a whole provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload:
    Goliath: Go ahead, TACCOM. Milspec ED 209 on. USDA selected. FDIC approved. Checklist complete... SOB.
    Goliath: Since the V.P. is such a V.I.P., shouldn't we keep the P.C. on the Q.T.? Because if it leaks to the V.C., he could end up M.I.A. Then we'd all all be put on K.P.
  • Accidental Pun: High Templar after the Legacy of the void patches (3.0 and later)
    High Templar: I don't even know how to make a lightning pun anymore. Shocking, isn't it? Oh. I did it!
  • A Day in the Limelight: The site features short stories focusing on the game units as people.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Very few of those days in the limelight end with the protagonist still alive Most of the SCVs survive, the Marauder is waiting for extraction. The Marine, Siege Tank, and Zealot have no such luck.
  • Agri World: Agria, as the name suggests, is devoted chiefly to agriculture.
  • Airborne Artillery:
    • Zerg Brood Lord, replacing the Guardian's flying crab design with a flying manta ray that flings tiny broodlings at the enemy with great force.
    • The Protoss Tempest is a flying artillery ship with ridiculously huge range, but needs to be escorted to provide line-of-sight.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The Frontline series is practically required reading for the sequel, explaining the backstory and lore of several new units. In addition the "Ghost Academy" series of books details the back-stories of Nova and Tosh; Though Wings of Liberty spoils how well their friendship went after the academy.
    • Subverted with The Dark Templar Saga. Although written specifically as a prequel to the game, most of the lore in the books is so far inconsequential to understanding their plot. Otherwise the plot threads set up in the books to tie into the games have either been left out, retconned, or are explained in the games anyway.
  • Ancient Order of Protectors:
    • The Tal'darim have appointed themselves guardians of the Xel'naga artifact fragments Raynor is collecting during the main storyline, and violently try to keep them out of his hands. They turn out to be a subversion as they are actually working for the Big Bad Amon.
    • Normal Protoss also have shades of this, they travel the cosmos studying and gathering relics of the xel'naga, and will keep them out of humans hands, but it's usually for a good reason (These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know, etc) and on other occasions they don't interfere with human archaeology.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: When playing a standard game for experience points, the first victory of the day gets you a massive experience boost that vastly outstrips the experience obtained in-game - but only the first one (for each race).
  • Anti-Rage Quitting: Instead of "Quit", the menu reads "Surrender". Unfortunately, this is also the only option that shows up if you're playing alone and you get disconnected.
  • Arm Cannon: Marauders and Firebats have their grenade launchers and flamethrowers mounted on their wrists.
  • The Armies of Heaven: The map "War in Heaven" pits, well, Heaven against Hell, using Terran and Protoss units as heavenly soldiers and Zerg for demons: Marines are warrior angels, Sandalphon is a colossus, Jesus is a battlecruiser...
  • Armor Is Useless: According to the first game's manual, marines' CMC combat armor was designed to stop standard firearms and shrapnel, but in gameplay itself, Marines have no base armor whatsoever, meaning they take full damage from all attacks when without armor upgrades. This, however, becomes justified upon inspection of other weaponry in the series: the C-14 Rifle issued to marines is specifically designed to use CMC-penetrating rounds, C-10 Rifles are sniper rifles with explosive rounds, Hydralisks fire their spines at supersonic speed, etcetera, so while CMC armor might look like it does not offer any effective protection, it's because of the sheer power of the weaponry they have to deal with. The CMC armor also protects Marines from environmental hazards, even allowing them to perform in incredibly hot worlds like Char with no performance issues.
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • The computer has become very smart due to a new hidden value assigned to units that determines their kill priority when attacked by AI opponents. Some caster support units take priority over standard attackers so the computer will target them first if they can. That's right, Blizzard has programmed the AI to Shoot the Medic First. However, it can also fall into Artificial Stupidity when you realize that you can position your units in such a way to either make them keep running around a unit or even move wildly trying to GET to the target. The Ultralisk is the biggest victim. Due to its large size and its just-barely-better-than-melee 1 range, Ultralisks in particular waste a lot of time bumping into friendly units or impassable terrain.
    • While the multiplayer AI in Wings of Liberty was not that different from earlier Blizzard games, it became competent at Version 2.0 (Heart of the Swarm), playing much more like an actual human player, with heavy scouting, agressive expansion-taking and rushes. This varies according of the AI type, which affects its tactics, build order and what to build from the Tech Tree. Just like in Wings of Liberty, however, The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard at the highest difficulty level, having lower build times and gathering more resources per trip than you.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The computer has a tendency to throw units away attacking a wall-in (in the campaign at least), even on Brutal. This can make base defense very easy when you have a choke point handy. Walling in also works well with cloaked units, provided you shoo away detectors.
  • Artistic License – Physics: This isn't about the game's looser position on the Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness. This concerns the introduction, later in the game's lifespan, of an Underwater tileset for maps. It's actually pretty cool, with revamped physics for slain units: their corpses will float up at the camera towards the surface. However, this lampshades the Artistic License, because other elements of physics — the Hellbats' and Hellions' ability to set things on fire, the parabolic arc of a Ravager's artillery attack — are not affected by the environment at all.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • Terrible, Terrible Damage, the reference to the project lead Dustin Browder, is now the God mode cheat, as well as what General Horace Warfield near the end of the game says when his ship goes down. It also appears when getting lots of simultaneous kills in challenge levels.
      "Mah ship is takin' tayrible, tayrible daymage!"
    • In, you can get an error message: "The page you were looking for either doesn't exist or some terrible, terrible error has occurred."
    • On another note, Egon Stettmann sometimes says this when his harvesting bots are attacked in the Co-op mission Mist Opportunities. Here is the direct quote:
      Stettmann: My bots are taking damage! Terrible, terrible damage!
    • Official Russian dub has the Protoss Carrier saying "I'm not a loaf, I'm weapon of justice!", referencing the infamous fan nickname the Carriers got for their, well, loaf-shaped form.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: In-game units advance in rank by racking up kills as recognition of their strength, though there's no actual RPG element that upgrades them because of it. The Galaxy Editor, however, supposedly has provisions for a level system. Of course, as with the original, the heroes are higher-ranked by default and kick a lot more ass. Subverted by the main character units that retain their set rank no matter how many they kill. (Tosh will always be Rank: Spectre Leader, Tychus will always be Rank: Scoundrel, and so on.)
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Protoss Mothership is expensive, slow to build, slow to move, it lies at the top of the tech tree, and its attack isn't all that powerful. For all that time and money, it's basically an Arbiter with higher HP. Blizzard has even stated that they know the mothership isn't as useful as they'd like in the multiplayer and is really more just a symbol of the player's economy that they can afford the thing, especially after patch 1.3. Though for a while there the Mothership was a strong part of competitive Protoss vs Zerg throughout much of 2012 in Wings of Liberty as its Vortex ability was absolutely invaluable against Brood Lords (it was basically considered nearly impossible for Protoss to beat Brood Lord/Infestor without a Mothership).
    • The Carrier is the iconic Protoss warship ranked just below the Mothership and a beloved Brood War unit. Its Interceptors have huge range and the highest DPS out of any unit in the game. However, it takes forever to build one, the Interceptors do Scratch Damage to heavily armored units, they move as slowly as Battlecruisers, and subtle mechanical differences have made it less effective than the Brood War Carrier. The Tempest introduced in Heart of the Swarm has even more range, 2/3 the supply cost, 1/2 the build time, the same health+shields, same armor, same move speed and same prerequisite tech; it has overshadowed the Carrier to the point of threatening the Carrier's very existence in multiplayer.
    • Battlecruisers are also considered this. Like the Mothership, they are big, slow, expensive, and at the end of the Terran tech tree. What really puts the nail in the coffin, though, is that all 3 armies have hard counters against battlecruisers that are significantly cheaper and more versatile.
      • The metagame redeemed them in Heart of the Swarm. Terran "mech" play (relying on mechanical units - Hellbats, Tanks and Thors) became very common against Zerg players, and the Thor/Battlecruiser army composition became a common sight in the late game, due its incredible bulkiness and the lack of efficiency of its hard counter (the Corruptor) against the Thors. Their Yamato Cannons also became useful to one-shot the Queens when dealing with Ultralisks.
    • Reapers are extremely fast, extremely mobile and do serious damage against light units and structures. However, their Glass Cannon status means that they die very fast in head on fights and require huge amounts of micromanaging to stay effective. They also have shorter range than Marines, so they can't hide in infantry balls like Ghosts can.
    • In-universe, there's also the Odin, which, according to Swann, implies too much trouble to logistically supply and maintain, which is why you only get to use it for a couple of missions, and end using a reduced version of this, the Thor. Even its intended use in the Dominion was as a mobile asset for guarding large facilities of extreme strategic importance, such as the Imperial Palace on Korhal.
  • Bag of Spilling: invoked Zigzagged due to Technology Marches On with a dash of Gameplay and Story Segregation. A lot of units from the first game are no longer available in multiplayer, or if they come back they have different stats and abilities and look a little different. Most of the cut units return in the single-player campaigns, making it clear they are still being fielded in-story, they're just not in multiplayer for balance reasons. Lore often mentions that these units have become obsolete or fallen out of favor for various reasons and thus are not seeing much usage anymore, and Terran units that return from the first game are mentioned to be different models (the first game had Arclite-class Siege Tanks, the sequel has Crucio-class) to justify their different stats and appearances.
  • Base on Wheels: all three campaigns involved the team using a spacecraft. The battlecruiser Hyperion for Wings of Liberty, a leviathan for Heart of the Swarm and the arkship Spear of Adun for Legacy of the Void.
  • Beehive Barrier: Immortals' hardened shields.
  • Big Bad: Amon, otherwise known as "The Dark Voice", is the main antagonist of the trilogy of StarCraft II.
  • Big Good: Ouros, the last Xel'Naga, masterminded the entire plan to defeat Amon, from appearing as Tassadar before Zeratul to usher him into action, to creating the prophecy, which is actually the projection of his psionic power
  • Black-and-White Morality: In contrast with the grey and gray, black and gray and Evil Versus Evil conflicts of the original game, this game's conflicts tend to have clearly defined good (albeit imperfect) guys and bad guys. Heart of the Swarm did try to make Kerrigan into an Anti-Hero, but this just resulted in her alternating between hero and villain on a whim.
  • Body Horror: The fate of infested Terrans, Kerrigan included (at least in her first, unwilling, transformation), invokes this trope straight and frequently. The Protoss and the Zerg themselves also experience a version of this in the form of the hybrids and the various test subjects used to make them.
  • Book Ends: The opening cinematic in Wings of Liberty ends with Tychus saying "Hell. It's about time." The ending cinematic to Legacy of the Void ends with Jim saying it.
    • Two series-long ones; In the first game, you play through the Terran campaign first, then the Zerg and Protoss. Come the second game, Wings of Liberty is the first portion of the game, then Heart of the Swarm, and finally, Legacy of the Void. Brood War has you first playing as the Protoss, then Terrans, and finally Zerg. In the Playable Epilogue, Into the Void, you play all three factions in that order over the course of three missions.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Colossi have very long range and huge splash damage, making them relatively easy to use in combat, as long as they are protected from anti-air attacks (such as Vikings). Combined with their decent speed, ability to walk up and down cliffs, and ability to stride over small friendly units, they are frequently accused of being too easy to use.
    • Marines are a very easy, and effective, low tech unit to mass and retain their use in the end game, as 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.
    • Roaches are a simple low cost unit with short range and high HP. They have the ability to regenerate health very quickly while burrowed and an upgrade that lets them move 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"... or kill the Zerg before Roach production can ramp up in earnest.
    • Prior to nerfs, the Swarm Host was defenseless above ground, but could burrow and spawn temporary Locusts, which were slow, fragile, had short range, and a rather dull-looking attack. However, Locusts did tremendous damage, and there was an upgrade that let them survive long enough to travel great distances. Locusts cost nothing to make and can be spawned, two at a time, just 25 seconds after the first pair expired. Swarm Hosts were strong enough to synergize with almost any unit, and were excellent as Stone Wall defenses. Due to many boring, hours-long games involving mass Swarm Host armies, nerfs came in and not only made the Swarm Host useless and impractical, but fundamentally different in philosophy.
    • Alongside the Marine, the campaign-only Goliath is this, once it gets the upgrades for range and attacking multiple targets. Sturdier and more powerful it is one of the most versatile units in the game.
    • Every Campaign has an upgrade that allows the player to mine vespene gas automatically. This means less supply spent on workers, an easier earlygame, and you can just slap a collector onto any vent you see without even bothering to expand there until later.
    • Walling off your base in some campaign missions isn't flashy, but can be effective, letting you hold off attacks on a flank while you deal with other matters. It is usually uninteresting to watch in a Let's Play, but for many players, it's the best tool they have for beatting missions such as In Utter Darkness on higher difficulties.
    • Creep Tumors are incredibly simplistic Zerg "structures" that merely provide Creep, and can create one more Creep Tumor. However, buffs to creep done in this game make Creep Tumors useful to keep Zerg grounds units at maximum speed, and they can be amazing scouts for the Zerg player because they provide vision and are burrowed, meaning Zerg players can see attacks coming just by filling the map with Creep. In the multiplayer in all three expansions, "creep spread" (using tumors to spawn more tumors in an ever-expanding pattern around the map) is a core component of Zerg gameplay, as their opponent seeks to deny that spread by detecting and killing tumors.
  • Borrowing from the Sister Series: Blizzard greatly expanded on Hero Units in Warcraft III, with each having distinctive abilities and appearances that came to dominate gameplay. Their success led the inclusion of Warcraft-style hero units here (while still including the classic "enhanced basic unit" style heroes in the campaign as well).
  • Bottomless Magazines:
    • All units that use ammunition play this straight.
    • Averted in various cutscenes featuring cornered and desperate Terrans, where they are shown running out of ammunition.
    • Averted in-game in one exploration map where Raynor gains access to several heavier weapons than his Gauss rifle and correct use of their limited ammunition is the major challenge.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: According to lore, several of the new Protoss units (the Colossus and Mothership being the primary examples) are old war machines that had been mothballed or reconfigured for non-military use. After losing Aiur to the Zerg, they realized that they needed more powerful weapons if they were to avoid extinction.
    • The Zerg have their own equivalent of this in the campaign with the Impaler. Somewhat related to the old Sunken Colonies from Brood War, and an alternative to a strain capable of morphing into Lurkers, it's possible to incorporate the essence of the ancient -and twice-over obsolete- Impaler Colonies.
  • Brick Joke:
    • One of the SC1 Marine Stop Poking Me!'s is "How do I get out of this chickensh*t outfit?" The SC2's Stop Poking Me! is "Man... STILL stuck in this chickensh*t outfit..."
    • Legacy of the Void includes new voice overs for many units. This includes several Stop Poking Me! quotes. The High Templar, for example, now has this classic: "I'm so disconnected, I can't even pull off a lightning pun. Shocking, isn't it? Oh, I did it!"
    • In Wings of Liberty there's a fluff piece about Zerglings presumably being allergic to lemon juice. In Heart of the Swarm Abathur's dialogue shows him working on overcoming such weakness.
    • In one of the evolution missions on Korhal, you can destroy a Marine's fresh new car. In both Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void you go back to Korhal and you can destroy that same guy's new car, the guy screaming "Why does it always happen to me?"
    • Wings of Liberty has statues of Arcturus Mengsk everywhere on Korhal that the Terrans can destroy. In fact, the first mission has a bonus objective where you can destroy holography projecting Mengsk to Shut him up. Both Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void also have statues of Mengsk on Korhol for both the Zerg and the Protoss to destroy.
  • Broad Strokes: Continuity regarding the Non-Entity General player characters of the Colonial Magistrate, the Cerebrates, The UED Captain, and the Executors from the first game and Brood War. Current Canon/Word of God holds that the first game's Executor was Artanis, and the Cerebrate was killed by Tassadar in the Tie-In Novel Queen of Blades, while Kerrigan's Brood War Cerebrate eventually died when Kerrigan exterminated all the remaining Cereberates after the brood wars concluded. The Brood War Executor may have been Selendis. The UED captain was killed in either the final mission of Brood War or in the epilogue when Kerrigan destroyed the remainder of the UED Expeditionary Force. The Colonial Magistrate was mentioned by Raynor directly: apparently they parted ways six weeks after the downfall of the Confederacy and Raynor has not heard of him since.
  • Bus Crash: Daggoth. He died sometime after the Brood War concluded without any outside interaction (the red Cerebrate that appears in the final Terran mission of Brood War was apparently not him, or was not permanently killed in that mission). The explanation given was that he and the other Cerebrates could not survive without the Overmind. Their role was later taken over by Brood Mothers.
  • Cipher Scything: This happens to most of the player characters from the original and Brood War campaigns: the Colonial Magistrate, UED Captain and various Cerebrates are simply never mentioned. The Protoss Executor from Brood War, however, shows up a few times; her name is Selendis. And the one from the original campaign is the only Non-Entity General who becomes playable for a second time: fellow named Artanis.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Most of the Protoss characters' eye colors (including those of named characters) have been retconned to conform to this trope. While in the original game most Protoss had yellow or orange eyes irrespective of their affiliations, the second game established blue as the eye color of the Aiur protoss, green as the eye color of the Nerazim, and (with Legacy of the Void) red as the eye color of the Tal'darim. Protoss characters who do not follow this pattern do appear, but they are very rare.
  • Computers Are Fast: In StarCraft II, the computer can do an absurd amount of actions per minute. And by absurd, it's 2000+ APM. The best Korean players clock in at around 300, which (let us point out) is an already-absurd 5 actions per second.
  • Continuity Nod: A subtle one: the order of the three campaigns is the same as the original StarCraft (Terran, Zerg, Protoss) and the epilogue chapter missions are in the same order as the Brood War expansion (Protoss, Terran, Zerg).
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: One of the new unit types, in addition to Armored, Biological, Psionic, etc., is "Heroic." United marked as Heroic are usually campaign-exclusive and are either powerful enemy units or units central to a mission objective, and their Heroic tag means they are variably immune or resistant to stunning and disabling abilities like Graviton Beam.
  • Creative Sterility:
    • The Protoss, although not as much as in the first game, still seem to have this. A notable example is when you acquire enough research in Protoss technology to gain the ability to create automated Refineries—they use low-range warp technology to warp vespene gas right to the Command Center on a regular basis without the need for workers to transport it. The base building is only slightly more expensive than a normal refinery, but is overall less expensive because you don't need to train SCVs for them, it mines faster than SCVs would going back and forth, and you can build them and mine a geyser anywhere even if you don't have a base nearby. Stetmann wonders why the protoss never thought of this, and chalks it up to their "primitive" religious superstitions and lack of Terran creativity.
      • Turns out Stetmann's hypothesis were wrong, as the Protoss show their own automatic assimilator (i.e. Protoss refinery) with the aid of the Spear of Adun
    • Within the Protoss army itself, the Colossus is an old unit that they've have dug up after having abandoned them, and the Mothership is another old unit in the lore that just wasn't used for combat in the first game. Void Rays and Stalkers were designed by the Dark Templar. So in a way, the Khalai/Aiur Protoss are still experiencing this. The only new units they themselves have created are the Phoenix and the Immortal (which was just created by retrofitting old Dragoons). The jury's out on the Sentry since it has no unit lore.
  • Crippling Overspecialization:
    • Firearm-equipped units that can't shoot airborne targets (immortal, reaper, marauder, Viking in walker mode), and the various flyers with air-to-air weaponry that can't be used to attack the ground. Justified: Hitting a flying target with a weapon not designed for anti-air use is probably a little harder than the necessary for gameplay depiction of the action.
    • Protoss Colossi are cost-effective and powerful for their accessibility, with splash damage, a fair amount of HP, and midgame tech. This is balanced by the unit being tall enough that anti-air weapons can target it without incident, allowing Vikings to hard counter them in air mode or missile turrets to gleefully shoot any that wander into range.
  • Critical Existence Failure: From 700 total health to 1, no unit will ever be impaired by any form of damage. That is, until they die, at which point even normal bullets cause the unit to violently explode into Ludicrous Gibs. Similarly, units can be set on fire, sliced by plasma blades, and blasted by siege tanks without flinching. At least, until their health runs out, at which point the effects of their Cruel and Unusual Death will make themselves known.
    • Averted with buildings. Weakened Terran buildings will catch fire and slowly lose health until they are destroyed, weakened Protoss buildings will crackle with electricity, and Zerg buildings will bleed. However, Protoss and Zerg buildings regenerate shields and health respectively by themselves and not lose health when weakened.
  • Converging-Stream Weapon: The earlier versions of the Void Ray gradually added extra beams to its primary laser the longer it attacked a single target, up to three, so that the damage it dealt increased over time against tougher targets. This was eventually removed in a Heart of the Swarm balance update and replaced with the Prismatic Alignment ability, which causes it to deal more damage to Armored targets in exchange for reducing its movement speed.
  • Cycle of Revenge: It starts with Mengsk wanting to kill Kerrigan, the very ghost who killed his father. Arcturus executes his revenge by leaving Kerrigan to perish while the Zerg overran Tarsonis. Kerrigan then becomes infested by the Zerg bent on destroying the Koprulu Sector, which leads Mensgk to want Kerrigan dead even more. Raynor now wanted to see Mengsk dead for slaughtering millions on Tarsonis, and for abandoning Kerrigan. After Kerrigan killed many others as well as Fenix, Raynor wanted to see her dead as well, but was reserved about it when he wanted to restore her to human form in order to ensure her survival. Finally, Kerrigan is deinfested, which ends Raynor's part in the cycle of revenge. However, Raynor lessened his desire for revenge and wanted to start his new life with Kerrigan, but Kerrigan focused on killing Mengsk for abandoning her many years earlier. Mengsk is aware that Kerrigan will want to seek revenge, thus fueling his obsession with killing her. Kerrigan finally ends the cycle, as well as Mengsk's tyranny by killing Mengsk on Korhal, with Raynor's help.
  • Damage-Increasing Debuff: The Corruption ability, which makes their target receive 20% more damage for a few seconds.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: People who jump from the campaign to the multiplayer are going to be in for a really nasty surprise. In short, you have to manually research every unit's skills, most units aren't available in the multiplayer, Brood Lords are from Corruptors as opposed to Mutalisks, and other reasons.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The protoss now sport a number of Dark Templar-related units beyond just the Dark Templar themselves. They have their own creepier version of the Dragoon, the Stalker, and a flying laser beam called a Void Ray.
  • Dark Secret: In the form of Mengsk and the Dominion funding Narud and his research on the Hybrids, knowingly so.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: One of the terran banshee pilot's quotes:
    Banshee pilot: In space, everyone can hear me scream... (Beat) ...'Cause I'm the Banshee, get it?
  • Double Entendre: From the Ghosts:
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: Being too fast and efficient in the "Dead of Night" Co-op mission causes you to the miss the bonus objective.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Big Bad, Amon is killed by ascended Kerrigan, Valerian became the Dominion's emperor instead of his father, leading humans in a new age of peace of prosperity, Zerg survived and are under control of Zagara, protoss reclaimed Aiur and start rebuilding their civilization, and though Alarak refused to join reunited protoss race and left with his people for a new home, he allowed his men to choose between leaving or staying. And though Kerrigan became xel'naga, she reunites with Jim at the end.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The "Dark Voice", Amon, who is a fallen xel'naga and his hybrids. Ouros, Big Good, who is a xel'naga too, also counts .
  • Energy Weapon:
    • The Protoss take this trope and turn it up to eleven. The Stalkers and the Phoenix fire short laser bursts; the Sentries, the Void Rays, and the Mothership fire continuous energy beams directly at the target; and the colossi and campaign-exclusive enemy stone guardians fire sweeping lasers along the ground. Even the probe uses an energy ray to gather minerals. In any diverse protoss army, expect to see quite the Beam Spam. On the Terran side, there's the Battlecruiser, and the campaign-exclusive Wraith (though only for air-to-ground attacks), back from the original game. Technically, the Diamondback tank uses a rail gun, but it looks like a continuous laser. Oh, and there's that Drakken laser drill in "The Dig".
    • Lampshaded and referred to by name with the song Terran Up The Night, with the line "The sound of friggin' laser beams and gatling guns..."
    • In Co-Op, certain commanders are going to be blasting the field with lasers as they go across the field. Swann has the aforementioned laser drill on the field that targets a single unit and doesn't stop firing until it is dead or leaves the player's vision, Raynor will be blasting the ground with huge laser blasts with the Hyperion Yamato Cannon, and Dehaka can eat air units and gain a continuous fire beam ability for a limited time. There's also the Protoss Commanders who have your typical Protoss units (Artanis, Vorazun, Fenix, Alarak, and Karax), but Karax has some of the best ones with the Solar Lance and Solar Bombardment and extensive use of defensive structures. Alarak's Photon Overcharge allows him to make any allied structure begin firing beams at any nearby opponents, but with the right mastery levels it is possible for a pylon to eradicate an incoming enemy attack with laser blasts.
  • Episode of the Dead:
    • The "Outbreak" level takes place on a planet whose star has a higher-than-usual UV output which prevents the infested terrans (humans infested by a Zerg virus who lose their minds to the Swarm) on the surface from coming out during the day, but they attack en masse at night. In theory, the mission consists of attacking the unguarded infested-producing structures during the day and bunkering down at night so your flamethrowers and siege tanks can do horrible things to the incoming infested, but it's a lot more fun (and cathartic) to build vast mobs of Reapers (which do huge damage against buildings and lightly-armored targets such as, say, infested terrans) and attack the bases by night (which several achievements require you to do anyway). Tychus even claims he saw this plot in a movie once.
    • The "Left 2 Die" map mod takes the Outbreak mission and makes it a multiplayer mode, increasing the difficulty and adding Left 4 Dead-inspired Elite Mook lifeforms.
  • Episodic Game: Became one when Legacy of the Void was released and the game engine was updated. Each game in the trilogy can now be played separately, not requiring having acquired the previous games.
  • Experience Penalty: During multiplayer matches, the amount of experience given for killing and building units drops to a third after a certain amount of time has passed.
  • Fake Difficulty: In the campaign, in addition to making the enemies stronger, higher difficulty levels also prevent you from using slower game speed. Hopefully, you not only have the tactical prowess to beat your enemies, but also the CPS to match it.
  • Flash Step: Stalkers are able to short-range teleport with Blink, just enough to hop over a cliff, retreat out of range of an enemy or close the gap to rush them down. Zeratul in the single-player campaign (as well as various other Protoss heroes) can do this as well, and the Dark Templar unit also gained their own version of this ability in a Legacy of the Void balance patch called "Shadow Stride."
  • Gambit Roulette: The Overmind had an apocalyptic vision of the future. Knowing that he can't do anything about it due to his lack of free will imposed by the Xel'Naga, and the forced directive from the Dark Voice, he needed someone who could prevent the end of days. His answer? Kerrigan. Infest a powerful human psychic so that she can rule the Zerg, then act as a decoy by taking physical form on the home planet of the most technologically advanced species in the galaxy and daring them to kill you. Once they have conveniently done so, she'll be in charge... and hopefully will have free will. It's noted that this is specifically a gamble on his part, but given the apocalyptic alternative, it's better than nothing.
  • Game Mod: The stock Level Editor is much more powerful than that of the first game. The obvious use is new maps, but one enterprising modding group has taken it upon themselves to create a Fan Sequel to Warcraft III, titled Warcraft: A New Dawn.
    • Another group has ported the entire campaign from StarCraft (and Brood War) to StarCraft II's engine. Complete with the original sounds, units (including custom models), music and some in-game cutscenes.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Word of God hasn't explained a story reason yet, but "Dark Templar + Dark Templar = Archon" instead of Dark Archon now, due to the Dark Archon's role as a caster support unit being taken up by the High Templar and Sentry. In the Legacy of the Void campaign, Dark Templar cannot merge into Archons... but not into Dark Archons either, even though they are available to build - Dark Archons are, instead, a completely separate unit.
  • Gathering Steam: Void Rays can be this. The very first version had them do more damage the longer they stayed on a single target by having their Converging-Stream Weapon use only one, then two, then all three beams (their damage increasing with each one), other patches instead give them a temporary damage bonus against Armored enemies. The versions seen in the single player campaign remain unchanged from the first patch, and so all have this trope built into them.
  • Genius Ditz:
    • The Medic talks like one, acting rather too cheerful for war. (By contrast, the Medivac pilot sounds like a cross between a callous female Chuck Yeager and a Dr. Jerk.)
    • The medics seem like normal people compared to Egon Stetmann - basically a nerd who hardly ever says anything that would give him an IQ above 70, except in his research notes.
  • Geo Effects: creep provides a movespeed bonus to Zerg units. The fact that players can now control and direct the spread of creep, via Queen-spawned Creep Tumors, Nydus Worm eruptions and Overlord, makes this a significant strategic consideration rather than just a home-court-advantage afterthought.
  • Giant Mook: The Zerg have the Aberration, the Brutalisk, Omegalisk, and the aptly named Leviathan. The Terrans have the Thor and Battlecruiser, and the Protoss have the Mothership, Colossus, and Carrier.
    • For Co-Op:
      • The Hyperion is an absolutely massive Battlecruiser when called in by Raynor
      • Fenix can have personality AI download into his units, making Colossi and Carriers (already fairly massive units) even larger as they tower over your own army.
      • Stukov can call down both the Aleksander for a limited time, and the absolutely gigantic Apocalisk.
      • Abathur's army contains both Leviathan's and Brutalisks.
      • Dehaka can summon Primal Hive's which are huge buildings that can uproot themselves and attack alongside your army.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Siege tanks look beefy but are actually quite fragile. Woe to any ground unit that wanders into their artillery range, though.
    • Dark Templar are permanently invisible, unlike most cloaked units, and have really strong melee attacks (a single Dark Templar can hit like three Zealots put together, and can kill any worker with a single attack), but pitiful health and total hit points—if they're detected, they're going down fast.
    • Ghosts and spectres are similarly fragile but situationally able to devastate units (especially if you include their ability to call down nuclear strikes).
    • This also all applies to any offense-oriented Squishy Wizard units, such as the High Templar.
    • The Colossus, a towering four-legged walker of death can fry several units in a row from a distance, making it the Protoss equivalent to the siege tank. Unfortunately, it's so tall that it can be attacked by anti-air attacks which means there's no place safe for this unit when it's on its own, and it's totally helpless against air-superiority fighters like Vikings. Also, it's nowhere near as durable as the Thor or Ultralisk, which cost just as much as it does; though they're more specialized in dealing with single, tough targets.
    • Carriers can rip apart an opposing army with the use of their interceptors, however if the opponent is a human and prioritizes attacking the ship rather than the interceptors, it won't last long.
    • Technically, every unit can be a glass cannon if confronted by its hard counter and you don't keep up the upgrades. Even the Mothership is easily destroyed by air superiority fighters like Vikings if the owner isn't paying attention it. Armies fall in a handful of seconds when faced with hard counters and superior numbers.
    • Alarak is by far the weakest commander in terms of durability, and will quickly die in seconds with his low health and shields. He stays in battle by essentially devouring the life force of your own army units, outright killing them, and will do this with your ally's army too. Thus without units he's weak and dies in seconds, and with units he won't die as long as he has an army to sacrifice. Luckily, he's insanely powerful, with excellent attack options that have very short cooldowns, and his "Empower Me" ability can allow him to gain attack power based on the size of the army surrounding him, allowing his attack to sometimes exceed over 100 points of damage per spell cast or basic attack. It's possible for him to one-shot a Command Center in this situation.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom:
    • This seems to be a trait of very powerful and/or native psionics. Sarah Kerrigan gets them in her infested form. Most of the Zerg have them (they're all psi-sensitive), as well as all of the Protoss (and they're even color-coded - blue for standard Protoss, green for Dark Templar, and red for the Tal'darim and the standard Protoss under Amon's Mind Control/Demonic Possession). Units like the Firebat or Marauder get cool Power Armor suits that have glowing eyes as well.
    • This is all you get to see of the Dark Voice. Until the final chapter of Legacy of the Void, when we see his true, humongous and monstrous form... and it still follows this trope, with ten glowing red eyes.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The "Dark Voice" is revealed to have been this all along.
  • Green Rocks: The Keystone, the xel'naga artifact that drives much of the sequel's plot. Let's see what it does during the trilogy:
    • In Wings of Liberty, it is used to restore Kerrigan to her (mostly) human form, as well as destroy zerg hive clusters across a large area. It is also said to be very dangerous to the protoss as well, as they have also been created (or altered) by the xel'naga (and Amon in particular).
    • In Heart of the Swarm, the artifact is first said to have been used to resurrect the Big Bad, Amon. Then we see it at the very end, as it is used by Mengsk to torture Kerrigan. This seems very weak compared to what it was used for in Wings of Liberty.
    • Finally, in Legacy of the Void, the artifact is first encountered on Korhal, where it is used by Amon's hybrid minions to paralyze the terran forces on both sides of the fight, while Artanis' protoss and the hybrid forces themselves remain unharmed - the exact opposite of what it did in Wings of Liberty. Then the heroes use it to locate Ulnar, the xel'naga homeworld, and then to draw Amon out of the Khala and thrust him back into the Void.
  • Hartman Hips: Female Protoss have these, since they lack the... um... other characteristic(s) that would visually distinguish them.
    • Vorazun, Selendis and Rohana all have a definite swell in their models in the chest region that simulates humans, and their costumes all cross their chests as if to hide this so...
  • Herd-Hitting Attack: Psionic Storm and Hunter-Seeker Missiles are good at clearing out clusters of weaker enemies.
    • In Co-op, Tychus can obtain Nux as a unit for his merc group if selected by the player. Nux's Ultrasonic Pulse is specifically designed to create a large energy field that deals a lot of damage and pretty much destroys light units like Marines or Zergling. It can be further upgraded to the point that a whole wave of Thors can be practically half-obliterated just by that alone.
  • High-Tech Hexagons: StarCraft II presents these on the loading and menu screens. They also appear on some units and maps.
  • Hive Queen: The Queen, which is supposed to stay in base to force hatcheries to spawn additional Larvae, while also helping to maintain, strengthen, and defend, though they also make excellent support units.
  • Hitscan: Many attacks, like the Marine's and the Tank Mode Siege Tank's, have no physically simulated projectile model or tracer and hit instantly. Some others, like the Stalker's Painfully Slow Projectile, show up graphically but cannot miss unless blocked by the Raven's Point Defense Drone. They end up curving up and down cliffs and hitting targets who have already moved out of the weapon's range.
    • Averted with the Widow Mine. Once activated, it will shoot a missile at an enemy's location that takes about a second and a half to hit. A cute trick is to walk one or a group of Stalkers into a Widow Mine's range, wait for the Widow Mine to attack, and then Blink away from the attack to dodge it and put the Widow Mine on a lengthy 40-second cooldown, letting your Stalkers and other units walk past it or kill it with impunity.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Ghosts, whenever they use their "Snipe" ability. Then again, it is a very loud "thwip!" sound that will alert any player paying attention that a ghost is nearby, sniping units, so it's not as whisper-quiet as most Hollywood Silencers.
  • Hollywood Tactics: It's explained in Heart of the Swarm that Zerg Broodmothers, which replace the cerebrates from the first game, physically lack the ability to think of better tactics than the ones that fit in this trope. Their intellect can be augmented, as shown with Zagara.
  • Homing Boulders:
    • This is perhaps justified because they shoot Frickin' Laser Beams, but Stalker attacks have really odd terrain-following properties. Observe, as lampshaded by Husky Starcraft.
    • Projectiles in general have a fairly amusing terrain-following style, similar to Stalkers. Watch for Marauders shooting up on the high ground, with their grenades having a non-parabolic arc to somehow zoom up to the height level.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: As if the Zerg don't fit this trope to a T already, the movement upgrade for zerglings causes them to grow little wings that make them look even more like little locusts.
  • Humans Are Special: Subverted. The central story is about the relationship between the Zerg and the Protoss, and the Xel'Naga's plans for them. While the stories of these two species are part of the overall Myth Arc, humanity's story is tangential, focusing more on the personal relationship between Raynor and Kerrigan and the internal politics involving Mengsk.
    • Furthermore, the Overmind's vision of the Apocalypse shows the Protoss as the final defenders against the darkness, with the humans already being consumed.
    • One could argue that Kerrigan's role as galactic savior plays this trope straight, except that Kerrigan's specialness in that regard is about her as an individual, not because of something inherently special about her humanity. Indeed, much is made in the story about how Kerrigan really is not human anymore.
  • Humongous Mecha: Protoss' colossi are gargantuan daddy-long-legs-style walkers so tall they can be targeted by anti-air weapons and walk over cliffs. The Viking can switch from fighter jet to semi-Humongous Mecha, and in the single-player, the goliath, straddling the line between Powered Armor and Humongous Mecha, returns. The Thor is as big as some buildings, and the original plan was to have it be built by an SCV in the field rather than inside a building because it was so big—this was axed because it didn't work for gameplay. However, they're both put to shame by the Odin in the single-player campaign, a Super Prototype Thor. The Thor is as big as some buildings— the Odin is bigger than buildings (and, indeed, it's implied it would not fit in the Hyperion, a massive battlecruiser)! In the mission where you rampage around a city with it you can destroy background doodads like vehicles and streetlights just by brushing past them.
    • During Co-op play, Tychus gains use of The Odin as a calldown ability. In the midst of a firefight, The Odin lands with a cathartic slam and absolutely insane firepower, and can be further upgraded to fire a single 1000 damage nuke called The Big Red Button.
  • Hurricane of Puns:
    • The Tauren Marine just... won't... stop.
    • The Firebat doesn't seem capable of saying anything that isn't fire-related. Even his offscreen cry for help is "Mah goose is gettin' cooked!"
    • Several units get into this when it comes to the fun responses used when you keep clicking on them.
    • Click on the Spectre unit enough and it will start quoting the titles of Steven Seagal movies.
  • Idiosyncratic Mecha Storage: Thors have a unique animation that plays when they get picked up by a dropship. They fold up into a more compact block hanging under the ship.
  • I Know You Know I Know: One of the core components of competitive multiplayer, properly scouting the enemy's base is crucial to predicting what their army composition is going to look like and building your own army to counter theirs, and vice versa for the enemy countering your army. But, if the enemy knows that you scouted them, will they transition into a different build to counter your counter? Or perhaps they let you scout them on purpose and they never intended to build their army that way? Or what about the part of their base that you didn't see which is hiding critical tech buildings? Constantly scouting the enemy's composition and positioning is as crucial to victory as micromanaging your units in the fights themselves.
  • Immune to Mind Control: The Ultralisk has the Frenzied ability, which makes it immune to not only mind control but some slowing and stun effects as well.
    • The Brood Lord gained the Frenzied ability in Heart of the Swarm, and Frenzied was buffed to also grant immunity to the Viper's Abduct. All to balance out Brood Lord and Ultralisk use against Vipers in Zerg vs. Zerg play.
    • IF a unit has the "Heroic" attribute in its unit description, it becomes unable to be mind-controlled for any duration.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Arcturus and Valerian Mengsk combine this with the Bling of War, but then Raynor's everyday clothes look very cool too. However, prize number one goes to the Protoss fleet commanders, with Artanis having what seems to be the coolest uniform in the universe, golden armour and psionic neon lights included.
  • Instant-Win Condition:
    • If you destroy the enemy bases on most missions that do not require doing so, you win. "Welcome to the Jungle" of Wings of Liberty is the earliest possible example: if you can hold out the Tal'darim's attempts to seal the terrazine altars, you can go and destroy their base, upon which the main objectives get fulfilled.
    • Played With in "Purification" in Legacy of the Void's main campaign. If you destroy all Zerg forces before accomplishing the main objectives, Artanis will note they have won the battle, but you still have to destroy the remaining null circuits.
    • In the Heart of the Swarm mission Shoot the Messenger, you cannot destroy the Warp Conduits themselves, but if your units manage to push into the enemy line and destroy the Launch Bays, you win instantly.
    • Averted in the Co-Op campaign. Even if you manage to totally eradicate the enemy base, you cannot end the mission until the main objective is completed. This is true even of missions like Void Launch (which is just a Co-Op version of Shoot The Messenger) as the Launch Bays in the Co-Op version are invincible. Enemy's will also Drop Pod/Warp In to the map, so you will never be in a situation where there are no enemies to fight.
  • Karma Houdini: The Queen Bitch of the Universe herself, Sarah Kerrigan. A lot of people believe she needs to die for her crimes, but she has to live Because Destiny Says So. She emphasizes in Heart of the Swarm that she is aware of this trope and will pay for or atone for what she's done once the destiny part is over.
    • There's some implication through the Wings of Liberty campaign that Amon was influencing her to begin with, which would imply she isn't entirely guilty for her actions. By Heart of the Swarm, her targets are strictly Dominion forces, other Zerg, and Tal'Darim (except for the Protoss Settlers she massacres on Kaldir).
  • LEGO Genetics: The various attempts at splicing zerg and protoss DNA to create hybrids. This is foreshadowed in lore, as the Zerg and Protoss were both created by the Xel'Naga in the attempt to create another race like themselves.
  • Lighter and Softer: Whereas things always went from bad to worse in the original game, the first two campaigns have ended with things in the Koprulu Sector looking up. Yes, even in the Zerg campaign. Legacy of the Void, even though it's the final part of the trilogy, averts it, with the invasion of Aiur turning into a disaster and the Dark Templar entering their Darkest Hour, and losing Shakuras, early into the game, along with Korhal suffering even more damage than the Zerg did when the Moebius Corps invade, and the revelation that Amon killed the Xel'naga that were on Ulnar. Most of the campaign involves the Daelaam finding everything they can to stand a chance in the first place, along with slowly damaging Amon's forces, and it's not until the return to Aiur that things start looking hopeful. The epilogue returns to playing it straight, even though it's set on an Eldritch Location, as it's Amon's Last Stand.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • The Ultralisk. With a whopping 500 hit points (most of any non-campaign ground unit), tusks so big they cause Splash Damage, and heavy armor, you'd have thought that it would be as heavy as you can get. Then you find out that the thing moves faster than a marine. In fact, they have the same speed as an unupgraded Zergling. These guys can destroy armies on open fields and can be produced in bulk so long as you have the resources. Their ability to ram buildings for extra damage was removed, but due to their default attack being area of effect this was actually a buff.
    • The fat, anti-armor Marauder has the same speed as the Marine (and shares the Stimpack upgrade and gets the same speed boost as the Marine), has almost triple the health ignoring the Marine's Combat Shield upgrade, and smashes through any armored unit or building like it was nothing. Marauders take up more space than Marines and are armored themselves, making them very effective as meat shields against splash attackers such as the Baneling and Colossus.
    • In Co-Op:
      • The Hyperion Battlecruiser arrives with a huge array of powerful blasts, the ability to warp anywhere on the map, and a bulky HP amount. It does have time life, though.
      • Kerrigan can basically run solo without her own army in some Co-Op missions, especially on Casual difficulty where she is essentially the only unit needed. She can do this early on in Hard missions, although she will typically need support for the larger enemy waves by the end of the mission (although she still remains your key unit).
      • Swann's Ares War Bots can deal serious damage to the enemy line and surprisingly soak up a lot of damage. They're fairly quick units too, so they can move across a decent amount of the map. The only major downside is that early on into Swann's levels, he only has 4 and they're not too strong, but by level 15 (and especially with mastery levels), he's basically got 6 instant drop-pod units that tear holes through enemy lines.
      • Once the player gets Leviathan's and Brutalisk's with Abathur, everything else isn't particularly necessary. The Brutalisk and Leviathan both have air and ground attacks. Leviathan fly across the map while Brutalisk can deep tunnel. Leviathan and Brutalisk both come with excellent attack boosts to put them above the rest of your army.
      • The Apocalisk is hands down one of the best units for Co-Op use. It may lack somewhat in speed, but proper use of its burrow attack can help. Not to mention if it gets summoned in the middle of the enemy line, the enemy just cannot run fast enough. It has a huge Area of Effect slash attack, and it will fire 40 missiles into the air that absolutely eradicate air units. If you fail to do so the first time, it'll reload another 40 in just a moment.
      • Dehaka is shown to be capable of winning brutal missions solo on Co-op. That is significantly harder than it sounds, but just goes to show how much of a one-man army a solo ever-evolving Zerg can be. Made even better by the fact that Dehaka is not a cooldown, he is your main unit.
      • Most of Tychus's group is capable of holding off against the enemy with little issue, however using The Odin combined with Medivac transport allows you to place a massive killing machine anywhere on the map with vision.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The game loads when you reload a saved game, when you begin a new game, when you quit a game. Depending on what type of map it is, this could take anywhere from 15 seconds to over a minute. In the single player campaign, be prepared to be staring at the progress bar a lot every time you load a previous save.
  • Loophole Abuse: People often stream their games. Ain't No Rule saying you can't go in their stream, queue up at the same time as them, and then spy on them through their stream. Stream-sniping is looked down upon by most in the StarCraft community. Some will delay their streams by a few seconds to nullify the advantage, while others will roll with the challenge and win anyway.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Terran marines get a 30mm riot shield welded to their left pauldron. It gives them +10 HP.
  • Man in the Machine: Immortals and stalkers.
  • May It Never Happen Again: Following the three main campaigns, Amon has been defeated, his Custom-Built Host disintegrated, and his Hive Mind destroyed - but because his species, the Xel'Naga, is Only Killable In The Void Between Universes he is still alive. When it becomes clear that Amon will return eventually, though likely not in the main characters' lifetimes, they decide to go the extra mile and mount an assault on Amon within The Void, just to make sure he is Killed Off for Real.
    Raynor: "We can't just kick this can down the road."
  • Mechanical Animals: The campaign exclusive Predator, who's a robotic attack panther.
  • Mook Maker:
    • The Queen forces hatcheries to spawn Additional Larvae.
    • The Infestor unit has no attack of its own, but previous versions were able to spawn tons of Infested Terrans who are each approximately as powerful as one slightly upgraded standard Marine (but they walk very slowly). The infested Terrans kill themselves after 30 in-game seconds, but there's a very low energy cost on the Infestor's ability, so if used gradually it can launch a continuous stream of Infested Terrans. It could even do so while burrowed underground. Combined with the below Brood Lord, spawning infinite waves of free units became such a problem in competitive multiplayer that the ability was eventually outright removed in Legacy of the Void in favor of Microbial Shroud.
    • The Brood Lord's default attack is launching weak units at its target; the impact does most of the damage, and the broodlings persist to gnaw on the enemy and impede their pathing and attacking for a few seconds before exploding.
    • The campaigns also have the Leviathan, which theoretically can produce mutalisks and brood lords quickly enough to reach the 200 supply limit in less than a minute. Fortunately, when controlled by the AI, it produces them at a much slower rate.
    • The Terrans also have the Raven which produces automated cannon turrets and (in previous versions) missile-intercepting laser drones.
    • In Co-Op, the Aleksander's ground attack is firing infested civilian eggs that spawn in seconds.
  • Moral Guardians:
    • A quite egregious example of this trope; Blizzard has, in order to promote a "safe" online community, announced their intentions to ban all maps they deem "offensive" or "inappropriate," claiming they have "no place" on Battlenet. Cue uproar from diehard UMS fans.
    • As an example, a map that was banned for (accidental) use of prominently-displayed swastikas gained a following who believed Blizzard took it down for use of the word "badass". In reality, Blizzard has never banned a map for using curse words, although there is a filter preventing such words from appearing in the map description. The reason they gave is: "because we can". This is exactly as dickish as it sounds: they had almost no way of doing it with StarCraft and even Warcraft III, because they didn't have the staff, but now they do.
  • Mordor:
    • Char, a mineral-rich volcanic planet, isn't the zerg homeworld but it is their main base of operations, and it's a nasty place indeed.
    Warfield: Char. If hell ever existed, this is it.
    • Redstone too. In fact, the periodic lava flooding might make it more of a Mordor than Char. Raynor notices it too:
    "Great. Lava and zerg. Two of my favorite things."
  • More Dakka: A possible strategy to use in many situations, but is particularly useful in Co-op or the Campaign (where your build order is significantly less important as completing the objectives). Having a hard time clearing a map in Co-op with Raynor? Simply build more marines. Tychus not firing fast enough with his Gatling Gun? Research the ability to cut his attack cooldown (which is already starting at 0.3). Kerrigan needs backup, you could build a couple bulky Ultralisk, or just coat the sky in Hydralisk needles. As well, there are few situations Karax has where a couple Photon Cannons and Khaydarin Monolith's cannot solve by simply having more of them and upgrading them to fire faster.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Terran Thor, it's big, it's slow, and in initial balance versions was very slow at rotating to attack units to its sides, but packs a huge punch against ground and air targets. Amongst campaign units, the best example is the Hybrid Reaver, being only slightly faster than a marine. The thing hits harder than a fully upgraded Ultralisk, though it has a much slower attack rate.
  • Mind-Control Device:
    • The Zerg Infestor can fire a tentacle with a "Neural Parasite" into your brain, taking it over; That's in addition to the Infested Marines that it used to be able to spawn.
    • In Wings of Liberty, the player can also build the "Hive Mind Emulator" that mind controls zerg units.
    • Vorazun can use Dark Archons which can permanently control a unit until it is destroyed or the map ends. Your army could be quite possibly made up of eight Dark Archons and an army made of the AI's units.
    • Vega can mind-control any enemy units save for Frenzied units and Heroic units, allowing you to possess a unit every thirty seconds. Heck, you can even buff its attack power while you control it and make it more lethal this way.
  • Multiplayer-Only Item: Several single player upgrades are not available in multiplayer (for obvious reasons), but the reverse is also true.
    • For example, both Marines and Marauders can use Stimpacks in multiplayer, but only Marines have it in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single player.
    • Similarly, you can give Zerg units one of three upgrades at a time in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm's campaign, but in multiplayer, Zergling can have both attack and movement speed increased (instead of one or the other or increased life). Overlords cannot be mutated into Overseers in the campaign (there is no need for detection anyhow), just as larvae cannot mutate into Corruptors (A fact that is given a Hand Wave).
    • Warp Prisms and Observers are not available in StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void's. The former sometimes appears as a non-controllable unit, while the latter never does.
    • The enemy AI in Co-op can use Warhounds and one map has infested HERCs, two units unavailable to the player in any form save for Sirius and Cannonball if playing as Tychus in Co-op, and even then they're special heroic versions that don't control like the original units entirely.
  • Nice Day, Deadly Night: One mission has you surrounded by buildings that spawn infested Terrans, who burn in the daylight due to the star's high UV output. They attack in vast hordes as soon as it gets dark, and the player is meant to attack with impunity during the day, but there's an achievement for attacking at night (Reapers. Lots and lots of reapers). The official map Left 2 Die takes this concept and adds Left 4 Dead-inspired bosses.
    • This is the inspiration for the Co-op map "Dead of Night", in which two players must use a single base (with a few more mineral deposits and one extra vespene geyser in comparison to usual starting bases), and fend off growing waves of Infested alongside specialized infested units such as Spotters, chokers, Kaboomers, and Hunterlings, and the players base can be accosted by a special Ultralisk called a Stank that deals incredible damage, or ever-growing waves of Nydus Worms that spout actual units and not just infested. The map ends when all buildings are destroyed, incentivising players to move quickly, however units will spawn to defend a building during night, so players have to either wait until daytime when infested burn away, or increase their firepower with their commander to simply overpower and push into the infested buildings.
  • Never Say "Die": Said In-Universe by the Terran ghosts upon death. note 
    Day9: Oh my God, he's a stealth assassin! He needs to shut up!
  • New Tech Is Not Cheap: Invoked as to why Raynor takes all kinds of missions in Wings of Liberty, including for notorious pirates, and not just searching for the artifacts.
    • The Odin, the Dominion's ultimate assault mech, is capable of ravaging multiple bases with barely any maintenance, but is so expensive and outright huge (even the biggest cargo ship in the game can't fit it) there's only one ever built in the entire series. Fortunately, Swann reverse engineers it and comes up with a mass-production version which cuts back certain elements like the size, the minibar and toilet in the cockpit, and the nuclear missile launcher.
  • New Weapon Target Range:
    • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was the most blatant about this: 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.
    • StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void is less blatant than Wings of Liberty, but still have some examples: Colossi are able to walk up and down cliffs, but elevation play is only really used in the mission they are introduced. Immortals are great anti-heavy walkers capable of absorbing massive amounts of damage, and the mission they are introduced in pit you against a lot of Hybrid. The Khaydarin Monoliths are static defense structures with enormous range, introduced in a Hold the Line mission, and the Carrier spaceship is introduced in a mission where it is nigh-impossible to launch an assault from the ground.
  • Non-Entity General: In contrast to the first game, the player is never addressed by other characters directly, leaving it ambiguous as to how you, the player, manifest in-game. Because the stories are told from the Point of View of the leader of each faction — James Raynor of Raynor's Raiders; Sarah Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades; Artanis, Hierarch of the Daelaam Protoss — it is easy to assume that you are playing those characters; however, this creates some confusion when the game is played from an overhead perspective and the characters themselves — particularly Kerrigan, who takes place in almost every Heart of the Swarm campaign mission as a Hero Unit — are present on the field. (Ironically, Kerrigan, with vast psychic powers and a Hive Mind at her command, has the best Watsonian justification for seeing the battlefield from an objective perspective whilst simultaneously leading from the front.)
    • There was actually a story of a StarCraft user utilizing a training program to unfairly spawn in dozens of battlecruisers and strike the enemy base hard. The twist was, however, that he only ever did so during the campaign. Blizzard's justification for the ban was that he could gain achievements which would unlock special portraits and could be displayed on his profile. Of course, it's up to the reader whether he was cheating achievements unfairly and should "git gud", or if Blizzard overreacted to a player gaining cosmetics on the solo experience and punished him for enjoying the game he purchased his own way without affecting online play. Read the story here.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The Nerf to Motherships in Patch 1.3, which made units that escape a Vortex spell invincible for several seconds and almost completely destroyed the Archon Toilet tactic that took advantage of Splash Damage against the clustered units. Only the slowest units unable to take advantage of the invincibility time to flee are obliterated, now.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: A really odd example is Tychus Findlay, who says the sentence "Hell, it's about damn time" a total of one time in his appearances in StarCraft II (Yes, only the intro). You'd swear it was his catchphrase with how much his Heroes of the Storm counterpart says it.
  • Only Flesh Is Safe: Depending on the patch, the Ultralisk and Reaper have an attack that does a lot of damage, but can only hit buildings.
  • Only Killable at Home: The Xel'Naga are multiversal travellers, seeding one universe with life, and then resting in the Void between universes until the seeded universe, by means of evolution, produces two species who will provide viable Fusion Dance material to birth a new Xel'Naga, then repeating the process in a Time Abyss analogue to reproduction. Should they be rendered without form outside the Void (which they are perfectly capable of doing by themselves), they will return to the Void and reform there, but if slain in the Void, they will remain dead.
  • Outlaw Town: Deadman's Rock, an entire outlaw planet.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Bar some exceptions, most units from the first game that are only available in the campaigns fail to stand out against their replacements:
    • The Firebat, while much better than in the first game, being an effective tank against light units, is nowhere near as useful as the Marauder, which are stronger against the units Marines have problems against, as well as providing some crowd control with their Concussive Shells.
    • Vultures pale compared to Hellions as they are reliant on their Spider Mines to deal significant damage, whereas the Hellion deals area damage with its flamethrower. It's more significant In-Universe (Raynor and Swann get into an argument when the latter starts to point out the Vulture's issues) than in gameplay as Hellions tend to be mostly ineffective given the nature of the Terran's campaign missions.
    • Wraiths can cloak and can attack both ground and air units unlike the Viking's fighter form and the Banshee (which can only hit air and ground units, respectively), but the latter two are better specialized to attack their respective targets, making Wraiths very situational.
    • The Goliath is almost completely outclassed by the Viking. Both units' ground attacks are too weak to be worth it, while the latter's maneuverability in its fighter form makes it more suitable to deal with air targets.
    • This is averted for Medics (even though they are worse than in the first game), which can be massed much faster than Medivacs, and Science Vessels, which can now heal mechanic units, an ability that is too good to pass up, compared to the Raven.
    • The Zerg barely have returning units in the campaign, but the Lurker also manages to get this trope averted, even with the existence of the Swarm Host, another unit that only attacks while burrowed. Thanks to its linear Splash Damage, the Lurker has a niche that does not overlap between both units - to the point it returns to multiplayer mode in Legacy of the Void.
    • While the Reaver's Scarabs no longer cost minerals and have better pathfinding than in the first game, they are completely outclassed by Colossi (being much faster and can walk over terrain) and all Immortal variations (which can fight head-on against armored enemies, and are lower in the tech tree) due to them being very slow. It does not help that Shuttle-dropping Reavers (to circumnvent its terrible speed) is not possible in the campaign as the player cannot build Warp Prisms - the closest one can get is by using the expensive Arbiter's Recall.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile:
    • The nukes are still awesome, but good luck hitting anything other than buildings. You can get ghosts pretty early while their prerequisite building also manufactures nukes, but it still takes a good 10 units of time for the nuke to finish dropping.
    • The Raven's Seeker Missiles before they were redesigned. There's even an achievement for dodging one long enough for its fuel to be spent, which is much easier to get since the change.
  • Previously on…: Each "Episode" now comes with a cinematic called "The story so far" that summarizes the game's story development to date.
  • Profane Last Words: Terran Marines sometimes yell "Motherf--" when they're killed.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Dark Voice, and any player who manages to unlock his portrait deserves this reputation (requires 1,000 solo wins in Terran, Zerg, Protoss and Random!)
  • Rule of Three: Each campaign contained at least one mission from an different race and that race was also different in each expansion.
    • Wings of Liberty had four protoss missions centered around Zeratul and the path to the end time.
    • Heart of the Swarm downplays this with a Terran mission which featured the Hyperion being maneuvered in space to show a mercenary who is the boss. The Hyperion is the only controllable ship.
    • Legacy of the Void double subverts this. One would by rule expect a Zerg mission in the campaign. All we get is Kerrigan teaming up with Artanis to search Ulnar. However, the Epilogue gives not only a Zerg mission with Ascended Kerrigan on the field, but a Terran mission as well (but you still have Kerrigan for use with only one skill).
  • Running Gag: Mengsk Statues. Defacing them invariably happens in each campaign. For Wings of Liberty, given it's a rebellion against the guy, it's normal. Heart of the Swarm has you playing Kerrigan, who also has a bone to pick against Mengsk. When Artanis orders his forces to destroy them in Legacy of the Void, it's clearly just a joke based on repetition.
  • Sand Worm: One of the new zerg units/buildings is effectively this. Load a bunch of zerg into a Nydus Network, then grow a giant underground worm that pops up and starts disgorging tons of swarming zerglings. Seeing them is always an "Oh, Crap!" moment.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: Dr. Narud. He and his backwards counterpart have the same facial hair, both have unique accents, and both are/were in second-in-command positions; Duran famously used his close position to DuGalle and later Kerrigan to manipulate both of them for his own unknown benefactor. Kerrigan also claims to have seen through Narud's "charade." He is also demonstrated to be a Shapeshifter, justifying any changes in his appearance.
  • Secondary Fire: Several units, such as the Reaper, Baneling, etc. The Roach and the Hydralisk notably have a "hidden" melee attack animation at close range that has the same DPS as their regular attack, but have the added effect of not tripping Point Defence Drones.
  • Security Blindspot: Several of the game's stealth missions allow the player to see the vision radius of detectors, and either avoid their patrols, disable them with abilities, or teleport across gaps in their vision.
  • Sensor Suspense: The sensor tower, when first introduced in a gameplay demonstration, was used for this effect.
  • Sequel Escalation: In Wings of Liberty, not counting Zeratul's vision of the future, hybrids only appear in two missions and are basically bosses; one respawns indefinitely until the mission ends, the other is an unkillable Advancing Boss of Doom you run from. In Heart of the Swarm, they appear in a normal mission chain as dangerous, but manageable enemies. Come Legacy of the Void they're Elite Mooks who appear in almost every mission, and in larger numbers with variant forms to boot.
  • Serious Business: The professional gaming scene spawned from the original game continued into the sequel.
  • Shout-Out: See the page.
  • Sinister Scythe: One of the possible dark templar model have scythes with two blades. The arching shoulder blades of the Ultralisk, though not actual scythes per se, have the same feel to them.
  • Situational Damage Attack: The Void Ray is a Protoss ship that does more damage the longer it keeps firing its Converging-Stream Weapon, which stays for a little while even when switching targets.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: After the first game and expansion slid all the way down the cynical side (to the outright depressing), the sequel begins a shift back to idealism, especially Mengsk's defacing and Kerrigan's de-infestation in the first game, and Mengsk's defeat and Kerrigan's reformation to Anti-Hero in the second. After four/twelve years, things are looking up... Right? Though the threat of the new Big Bad destroying the universe is much greater than even the Overmind.
  • Space Western: The new flavor of the terrans, altered from their previously distinctive Deep South flavor (right down to the Confederacy using the CSA battle flag, only altered slightly).
  • Sliding Scale of Realistic vs. Fantastic: The series' entire campaign can be interpreted as a slow slide from the bottom to the top of the scale along sub-genres of science fiction. Take, for example, Wings of Liberty: a gritty, down-to-Earth tale about a rag-tag band of mercenaries becoming involved in a civil war while confronting their personal demons, all with a dirty, Used Future aesthetic. Now compare it to the shiny, brilliant Space Opera of Legacy of the Void, featuring swordfighting, larger-than-life heroes in cloaks and medieval looking armor swashbuckling across the spacelanes following a prophecy so they can slay a god with magic.
  • Squishy Wizard:
    • The trope is somewhat averted with the ghosts. Despite their role being essentially the same in the game as the previous game, the rounds on a ghost deal 20 damage to light units, making them very effective as anti-infantry/air even without using the snipe ability. With Snipe, they can essentially one-shot Zerglings and Marines provided the Marine is not upgraded. They are still squishy, but now they're more of a Glass Cannon that also has a cloaking device.
    • Completely averted with the sentry. If you have seen sentries in action, they can last an absurdly long time. This is in combination with the fact that all of its skill are based on defense with the ability to create hallucinations to divert enemy attention, generate force fields to stop enemy movement and create a massive umbrella barrier that reduces incoming damage. It even has the attack capabilities that are slightly inferior to a Terran Marine. In combat, their use is limited to support but in base defense, one of them can hold off an infantry army by blocking up ramps.
    • Played straight with most other casters, like the Infestor and the High Templar.
    • This is essentially Nova in Co-op. She lacks the high defense, high health, and high damage of most commanders, making up for it with two different combat modes, several potential upgrades, the fact that she can be your detection, and use of nuclear strikes, holo-decoys, and permanent cloaking in one form. Clearly, however, she is not designed to fight alone, and has to be supported. To add to this, most maps in Co-op will be dotted with photon-cannons, spore crawlers, and missile turrets along with other forms of detection, making a solo-push with her significantly less possible than it would be for someone like Kerrigan or Tychus.
  • Stealth Pun:
    "Why is the Stalker talking about taking pictures of me and calling my phone? ...Oh."
    • A possible Stealth Shout-Out and Genius Bonus: Jim Raynor's full name is given as James Eugene Raynor (after Horner jokes with him on his middle name at one point)... meanwhile, Jim Carrey's full name is given as James Eugene Carrey.
  • Stop Poking Me!: In Blizzard fashion, much of the dialogue is taken up by units who really don't like to be selected by the player repeatedly. This YouTube user documents all of the sayings of each character and unit.
  • Strategic Asset Capture Mechanic: Vespene geysers need to be claimed by building a faction-specific refinery structure on top of it. Each campaign has an optional passive Support Power that makes refineries teleport vespene straight into your bank to free up Worker Units.
    • Multiplayer adds Xel'Naga towers on most maps, which have a passive Defog of War ability as long as an allied unit is standing next to it.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: One official map mod causes all units to explode like a Baneling on death.
  • Super Prototype: The Odin is this to the Thor. Justified somewhat as The Odin is so expensive to use at all, it's practically a money-sink.
  • Tactical Superweapon Unit:
    • An April Fools joke in development stated that terran players would have the ability to merge their base structures into the Terra Tron, a giant robot armed with a laser drill-firing Arm Cannon, and a lightsaber buzzsaw. The model was actually made, and forms the final boss of the "The Lost Viking" minigame.
    • In skirmish/multiplayer modes, the protoss can field a single Mothership, a huge Flying Saucer with anti-air plasma missiles and a "Planet Cracker" ventral laser cannon battery that is, canonically, fully capable of wiping out all life on a planet (this is seen in the StarCraft opening cutscene), they just want to keep this one habitable.
    • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty: A couple missions in the campaign feature the Odin, the Super Prototype for the smaller (but still massive) Thor units. The mission where Raynor's Raiders steal it basically amounts to keeping it repaired while the pilot (whose radio is broken) rampages across the map.
    • StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm climaxes the prologue with a boss fight against the Archangel, a transforming heavy mech/fighter-bomber laying siege to the Umojan blacksite facility holding Kerrigan. It also features the Zerg Leviathan, a (canonically) moon-sized Zerg bio-ship available as a temporary summon. It mounts base defenses and other units as weaponry. It also features a Puzzle Boss battle against the nigh-invulnerable Gorgon-class Battlecruiser, which can only be killed by an entire horde of Scourge, a kind of Zerg kamikaze fighter-beast.
    • The Covert Ops DLC finishes with a battle against the Xanthos Heavy Mech, armed with railguns and flamethrowers, and the option to switch to a lazer cannon. It takes the entire Covert Operations army to take out.
  • Taxonomic Term Confusion: In the original game, its expansion, promotional materials, and the early Expanded Universe, protoss and zerg were capitalized. However, as of the sequel, the species names are now officially uncapitalized, as is the scientific standard for species (although who knows how we'd deal with alien taxonomy).
  • Tears of Awe: Tychus Findlay comments that piloting the Odin (a stupid-huge mecha of mass destruction) against Mengsk's tyrannical regime just about brought a tear to his eye.
  • Technology Marches On: In-universe, all three races have upgraded to superior units after noticing their old ones were not meeting their needs on the battlefield.
    • The Marauders use modified Firebat armor, the Siege Tank is now the Crucio model instead of Arclite model, and the Behemoth-class Battlecruiser is being phased out of service for the Hercules and Minotaur classes.
    • The Protoss have upgraded their Dragoons into Immortals, and can convert their Gateways into Warp Gates, allowing them to teleport troops anywhere they have a power field (from a pylon or Warp Prism). The Warp Prism being the replacement for the old Shuttle.
    • The Zerg have exchanged the Guardian for the Brood Lord, and detection is now handled by the Overseer, an upgrade of the Overlord.
  • They Look Like Us Now: One new zerg unit, the Changeling, can shapeshift to look like a Marine, Zealot, or Zergling depending on the enemy race; enemy units will not automatically attack it and opponents have to manually command their units to attack it. Fortunately it cannot fight or use abilities, and can be killed in one hit by any unit.
  • Too Desperate to Be Picky: In "Wings Of Liberty", the Protoss arrive to sterilize a colony of Zerg virus-infested humans, but are willing to let Raynor purge them himself (opposed by Dr. Hanson, who's desperately looking for a cure). Going with the Protoss results in Hanson sealing herself in the lab and injecting herself with the Zerg virus to try and find the cure, transforming herself into a Half-Human Hybrid before getting put down by Raynor. The canon choice is fighting the Protoss (in which case the infestation is limited to a few people, rather than several settlements in the non-canon branch).
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Ghosts and Nukes are far more useful than in the original game. Ghosts cost less to upgrade (though the unit itself costs more to train), they aren't as squishy with a stronger attack and a lot more HP, and they build faster. Plus, ghosts are actually able to act as assassins, popping infantry units in one shot (though this takes energy). They also now have the ability to fire EMP rounds, which is highly useful against Protoss units in general, units that need energy for their abilities, and can even temporarily decloak invisible units! Meanwhile, Nukes cost less, build faster, and the Ghost and Nuke are much lower on the tech tree, on approximately the same tier as the Factory, allowing them to come out much earlier, though to counter balance this somewhat, the nukes do less damage than in the original. The Ghost's prerequisite building is also where the Nuke is manufactured so once it's up you can have your Ghost ready to Nuke in a minute flat.
  • Transforming Mecha: The Viking, which turns from a Valkyrie lookalike to a Dreadnought lookalike.
  • Tron Lines: Ghosts and spectres (judging from Tosh, Nova, and later Kerrigan) have these as part of their suits. Heart of the Swarm demonstrates that the Powered Armor of the Umojan Protectorate has similar lines, giving them a higher-tech look than other marines.
  • Uniqueness Rule: In skirmish games, Protoss players may only summon and control one Mothership at a time until that one Mothership gets destroyed.
  • Unwitting Pawn: It seems the Dominion has been this all along to Amon through Narud; Mengsk wanted Narud to work with him to use The Hybrid as alien super soldiers, and Mengsk wanted Kerrigan dead. All of this would work in Amon's favor.
  • Urban Ruins: Some campaign missions return to Tarsonis, a city deliberately overrun by the Zerg in the first game. Ruined buildings, feral Zerg, and creep are everywhere.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Kerrigan is repeatedly warned by various people that her desire for vengeance is empty and won't make her feel any better. It turns out to be a subversion; after killing Mengsk, she is instantly and noticeably happier. Of course, her happiness could simply be because Raynor was there for her when she needed him.
  • Warfare Regression: Present in both lore and gameplay sense for the Protoss and the Terran to a degree, though this is not incompatible with their technological advances.
    • The Terran Marines discarded their streamlined C-14 Gauss Rifle of the previous game, which incorporated a grenade launcher, in favour of a bulkier one with a retractable bayonet; this in turn is justified by the increased instances in which melee combat would be inevitable, such as when dealing with the Zerg Swarm.
    • For the Protoss, this crosses over with Breaking Out The Museum Piece: due to their losses on Aiur and the growing necessity of the times, they have turned to reuse warmachines like the Colossi - previously retired for being too destructive - or to revive their ancient robotic programs, which lead to the development of the Sentries.
  • Weak Turret Gun: The Raven can deploy them, at least they only cost energy and serves as a good distraction. A few can actually be quite good for quickly supplementing a defense, or attacking a worker line.
  • Weaponized Offspring: The Brood Lord does that as does Kerrigan.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Word of God specifically uses a mayfly as an example when explaining how prophecy works. If a human told a mayfly that the sun was going to go down in a few hours, then come back up half a lifetime later, it would seem like mystic prophecy to the mayfly. To the human, it's just common sense.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Immortals are refitted dragoons. The facilities required to create dragoons were all inconveniently located on Aiur, and were destroyed during the zerg invasion. They basically took every dragoon remaining and toughened them way the hell up, to preserve them a little longer since their supply of them is limited. So it's basically We Can Rebuild Him Twice. There's also the "Immortality Protocol" upgrade for the Thor unit which lets you reactivate destroyed Thors at a fraction of the price of a new one.
    • In an interesting delve into this trope, the Purifiers seemed to be an attempt to utilize fully mechanical entities downloaded with the memories of great protoss warriors to essentially replace fallen allies with equally as dangerous machines. Fenix has a large amount of confusion regarding himself and this concept before eventually settling on the idea that he isn't the person he's clearly based on, and renames himself.
  • What If?: Essentially this is the entire explanation of the non-canon Co-op Mode in order to explain why Jim Raynor would be working alongside Alarak to stop infested humans on a Terran colony, or why Arcturus Mengsk would be working with Kerrigan to save Celestial Locks for Rohana. Taken a bit further with Tychus. As Tychus is canonically dead even by the time that Amon's hybrid start showing their face in large numbers, the trailer states that in co-op, Tychus survived the gunshot from Raynor at the end of Wings of Liberty with no explanation. He then goes out and smooths things over with Raynor, and puts together a new ramshackle group using the old team name "Heaven's Devils".
  • Word Salad Lyrics: A Zerg, A Shotgun & You
  • World of Ham: The units come in three flavors — hammy, snarky, and hammy and snarky.
  • World of Muscle Men: An examination of the models in the game will show that all the humans are heavily muscled, which makes sense since it's made by the same company that made World of Warcraft.
  • Vehicular Turnabout: Raynor's Raiders pull a Grand Theft Prototype on the Odin, preventing its use by the Dominion. However, this is actually all part of a plan to get the Odin into the heart of the Dominion with a Raider pilot inside. Also, the chief engineer reverse-engineers the Odin in order to produce the Thor, a slightly smaller, less powerful, but mass-produceable version.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Numerous missions feature civilian NPCs on the map. Some are map-appropriate, like scientists and engineers in installation-type maps, others are just civilians caught in the crossfire. You have full rein to slaughter them if you please.
    • Raynor gets called out when you kill NPCs you're supposed to be protecting, like in The Evacuation.
      Dr. Hanson: Those are innocent people! What are you doing!?
      Dr. Hanson(second time): You're killing more of my people! You monster!
  • The X of Y: Each of the three campaigns are titled like this.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: The twilight archon was designed to be a fusion of a dark templar and a high templar, and symbolically would have combined the power of the original archon with the spellcasting powers of the dark archon. They then scrapped it and brought back the original archon exactly as it was, the only difference is now any two templar fuse into an archon regardless of their alignment.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Star Craft 2


The Zerg Swarm

The scariest thing about the zerg is that no matter how many you kill, they just keep on coming. Full-auto, tanks, gatling guns, and artillery might kill some... but there is always more, they will keep coming undeterred - and for some of them, even the big guns won't cut it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShootingTheSwarm

Media sources: