StarCraft FAQ Version 1.1 Serin Tobias shinseitori <at> hotmail (dot) com There are two files to this FAQ, The Races, and Strategy. This file covers the strategy. ----------------------------- Table of Contents i. Revision History ii. Introduction iii. Where you can find this FAQ iv. Important Notice about CD-keys v. Notice 1. Introduction to Multiplayer Combat in StarCraft 2. General Strategy 2.1. Damage and Units 2.2. Build Orders 2.3. Tactics 2.4. Reconnaisance 3. Race Specific Strategy 3.1. Terran 3.2. Zerg 3.3. Protoss ----------------------------- i. Revision History 1.05 -- Massive overhaul of the Strategy and Races section. Some of the incorrect information has been updated as well. 1.04 -- Revised information according to the 1.05 patch, and word wrapped the text. 1.03 -- Included Brood War info, heavy editing on strategy (some of it was just crap). 1.02 -- Changed info according to the StarCraft 1.04 patch, added another contributing website. 1.01 -- Added notice about CD-keys, removed ICQ# (I'm never on anymore), changed e-mail address and web page URL. Also corrected a few spelling errors and specified damage types for units and buildings. Changed info according the the StarCraft 1.03 patch. 1.00 -- First Draft. ----------------------------- ii. Introduction Welcome. This section of the FAQ contains some multiplayer strategies that I have seen and devised myself when playing on battle.net. I am by no means an incredibly good player at StarCraft, but I know plenty about strategies, the units, and various ways of improving your play. While this section is geared towards players that aren't very familiar with multiplayer combat, I am sure that experienced players will find some things of interest. ----------------------------- iii. Important Notice about CD-Keys I have received a few e-mails from people asking me to provide them with my CD-key. I'll save you the trouble of writing if you want to ask me. I will not give out my CD-key to anyone, because it is my access to battle.net. If anyone else uses that CD-key, I can't get on when my CD-key is already being used. Also, if I give out my CD-key to one person, it will get all the way around the Internet to everyone in a blink of an eye. Then I will not be able to access battle.net. So, don't even bother writing me, because I won't give it out. Buy the game. It's well worth it, and it's cheap now. ----------------------------- iv. Notice In this section, I would like to hear any and all criticsm, suggestions, corrections, etc. This is mostly my opinion, and it could all be wrong, or it could all right. Some of the things here are fact, others are just my opinion. I encourage you to try any strategy I might have written here before actually using it in a serious game. Basically, I don't want complaints of people losing ladder points over some strategy I gave them. Also, if you wish to post either of these files on your webpage, please let me know. I do this to prevent anyone from plagiarizing my work, and also so I can compile a list of sites where you can find this FAQ. Remember that copyright laws do apply. ----------------------------- 1. Introduction to Multiplayer Combat in StarCraft I've found that there are two major keys to this game. The first is to know what your opponent is doing, and produce units to counter what he/she is doing. The second is to operate at top efficiency, meaning that you should not have stockpiles of Crystals and Gas around, and that you should also expand when appropriate. You can't do anything with Crystals and Gas; you can do things with units. The first concept you should know in StarCraft is the units, buildings, special abilities, and so forth in the game. My suggestion to you is that you select one race to become proficient in, learn its units, abilities, and hotkeys. Once you are familiar with your race, learn the other two well enough so that you get a feel for what your opponents may do. This way, by seeing your opponents main base, or a strike force, you will know in seconds just how to counter your opponent. ----------------------------- 2. General Strategy Before I get into the races, there are some concepts that apply to all three of StarCraft's races. In general, these concepts are damage, build orders, tactics, and reconnaisance. We'll start with damage. ----------------------------- 2.1. Damage and Units You may not know that there are three types of damage and three sizes of units in StarCraft. These interact with each other in unexpected ways. In case you're wondering, this table came from the StarCraft Readme, and the file included with Brood War describing the units. Terran Unit Size Ground Damage Air Damage SCV Small Normal -- Marine Small Normal Normal Firebat Small Concussive* -- Ghost Small Concussive Concussive Medic Small -- -- Vulture Medium Concussive -- Siege Tank Large Explosive -- (in Siege Mode) Large Explosive* -- Goliath Large Normal Explosive Wraith Large Normal Explosive Dropship Large -- -- Science Vessel Large -- -- Battlecruiser Large Normal Normal Valkyrie Large -- Explosive* Missile Turret Large -- Explosive Zerg Unit Size Ground Damage Air Damage Larva Small -- -- Egg Large -- -- Drone Small Normal -- Zergling Small Normal -- Overlord Large -- -- Hydralisk Medium Explosive Explosive Lurker Large Normal** -- Mutalisk Small Normal Normal Guardian Large Normal -- Devourer Large -- Explosive*** Scourge Small -- Normal Queen Medium -- -- Broodling Small Normal -- Ultralisk Large Normal -- Defiler Medium -- -- Infested Terran Small Explosive* -- Spore Colony Large -- Normal Sunken Colony Large Explosive -- Protoss Unit Size Ground Damage Air Damage Probe Small Normal -- Zealot Small Normal -- Dragoon Large Explosive Explosive High Templar Small -- -- Dark Templar Small Normal -- Archon Large Normal* Normal* Shuttle Large -- -- Reaver Large Normal* -- Observer Small -- -- Scout Large Normal Explosive Carrier Large -- -- Interceptor Small Normal Normal Arbiter Large Explosive Explosive Corsair Medium Photon Cannon Large Normal Normal Damage: Normal damage does 100% damage to all units. Concussive damage does 50% damage to Medium units and 25% damage to Large units. Explosive damage does 50% damage to Small units and 75% damage to Medium units. Protoss Shields take 100% damage from all types of damage. * = Splash damage (damages units in surrounding area) ** = The Lurker's splash damage is dealt in a straight line from the Lurker. *** = The Devourer's attack isn't splash damage, but acid spores splash onto surrounding units. ----------------------------- 2.1.1. Cover There are two types of "cover." They are the following: 1. Any unit behind a tree has a 70% chance of being hit as opposed to a full 100% when out in the open. 2. A unit that is on higher ground has a 70% chance of being hit by a unit on lower ground. Units on lower ground can't see units on higher ground (without assistance), but they can see any attackers. These two concepts apply to long range attacks, not close-in melee attacks. Use this to your advantage. The tree concept isn't used very much (or very practical), but remember it's still there. Also, when you are on higher ground, you will generally be defending a ramp. When fighting against small melee units on a ramp, remember that most melee units rely on bunching up around your units to do damage. That can't be acheived on a ramp. And, since long-range units will have less of a chance striking units on higher ground (splash still hits, though), you definitely have an advantage on a well-defended ramp. ----------------------------- 2.2. Build Orders Build Orders refer to a set pattern for building at the start of your sortie. There are two main types: build orders for rushing (attacking your opponent early) and build orders for economy (emphasis on resource gathering). If you wish to create a build order, select a race and start a game against a computer, or, make a map where you won't be attacked. If you are going for a rush, build your unit producing building as soon as you can, which is Barracks for Terran, Gateway for Protoss, and Spawning Pool for Zerg. Obviously, Protoss is a little slower because of the fact that you need a pylon to build a Gateway, but that is because the Zealot is a strong rushing unit. Go through about 4 or 5 trials, and make a note of how long it takes to build your first unit. Try building the structure at different times. For example, if you're Terran, perhaps you should only have 5 or 6 SCVs at first, and then wait and build the Barracks. Or, perhaps you could try it at 6 or 7. If you are building for economy, don't stop producing worker units. If you can help it, have a continuous stream of units coming in until you have about 1 1/2 to 2 workers on each crystal patch. Sometime before that point, you will have enough of a surplus to build a structure. If you are really focused on economy, you can build your farm unit/building first (for Protoss, this is necessary). However, if you want to have a surplus, you should not have more than one worker being built at a time. Resources don't do you any good if they are far back in the unit queue. Eventually, you will find a rigid build order you like. It should not extend beyond your second technology level (Academy/Factory for Terran, Hydralisk Den/Lair for Zerg, Cybernetics Core for Protoss). Often, people will refer to their build order based on how many workers you have, and then the type of building you are making at that point. For example, 4 Pool is a Zerg build order that is very quick in producing Zerglings, but hurts its economy pretty bad. 9 or 10 Barracks is my personal favorite for Terran, as it allows a good flow of resources, and allows me to build a significant number of Marines shortly after I have two Barracks up. However, a quick build order such as 4 Pool may beat this order before I can make any Marines. You may want to have several build orders. There are three types of melee games in StarCraft, and the build orders are different for all three. Your typical build order is on a map that allows access by ground to all main bases, and is medium to large in size. Different build orders are used on small maps like Blood Bath, where rushes are very common. Lastly, island maps don't require a defensive base until higher technology levels. Here are some guidelines for build orders: 1. When building for economy, always have one worker unit being constructed until you have 1 and 1/2 to 2 workers on each crystal patch. Build your Barracks/Spawning Pool/Pylon once you get enough resource flow so that you can keep producing workers, but also once you have enough to start on those buildings. 2. When building for rush, don't build as many workers, instead, have your existing workers bring in crystals, and then start on buildings as soon as possible. 3. Don't build a Refinery/Extractor/Assimilator until you need gas, or soon before. For example, with Terran, if you are going to Academy after Barracks, start building a Refinery soon before or while the Academy is being built. This is so you can start researching U-238 Shells or Stimpacks, and/or also to be able to produce Firebats or Medics. 4. If going for economy, start building a Supply Depot/Overlord/Pylon once you get to 8 or 9 workers. You should be bringing in enough by then to keep your worker production steady. If you don't build the food producer soon enough, you will have to wait until it's done before you can make more workers. 5. First, write down your build order, and then, practice it until you know it. If you're having trouble making one, just practice starting on a map, and try different types of build orders until you find one you like. 6. Most importantly, stay efficient: don't leave resources in the bank. Spend all you have. 7. Keep your build order short. You need to be flexible so that you can counter future threats. The build order is just to get you started. ----------------------------- 2.3. Tactics Tactics are necessary in any strategy game. Many see StarCraft as just throwing units into battle and seeing who wins. Upgrades, countering, and so forth are the main factors there. However, most of the tactics I will describe in this section are not for "throwing units into battle." They require a bit of finesse and micromanagement to pull off, but the results are well worth it. 2.3.1. Formation You will surely notice that when you move your ground units, they will form into a straight line, and walk into battle. This is not good for both melee and ranged attack. Melee units, such as Firebats, Zerglings, and Zealots, need to be bunched up together before battle so that they can surround your enemies and all get attacks in. Ranged units, such as Marines, Hydralisks, and Dragoons, need to surround your enemies from afar so that no one has to move up to attack, delaying their damage. Both problems tend to be averted if you bunch up your units just outside your attackers, and then attack-move behind them. The melee units will run up and try to surround, and the ranged units will form a sort of vanguard around your enemies to maximize their fire patterns. The tactics here are very simple. Before you just toss your units into battle next time, do a little recon and try and see what type of formation would be beneficial. As long as you aren't too far away, your formation should be maintained, and you will have that extra edge in the battle. 2.3.2. Counterattacking Here's an all too common situation that I see: Blue Terran has a couple of bunkers in front of his main base, each with three Marines and a Firebat inside. Red Zerg, feeling very confident in a large Zergling force, decides to attack Blue. Blue sees the attack coming, and brings a couple of SCVs in to repair the bunkers. The Zerglings quickly become a large puddle of goo in front of the bunkers, due to Blue's preparation. Perhaps one Bunker is destroyed, and possibly a Marine or two is killed, but, Red lost a lot of crystals, far more than Blue did. Does Blue empty his bunkers and rally his force of Marines (and perhaps Medics) in to attack Red? No. Blue replaces the bunker and the Marine, and continues to do other things. In the meantime, Red is able to out-expand Blue, and wins the game later. Although I am guilty of it myself (I've been in Blue's situation a few times a while ago), there is no reason why Blue should not counterattack Red in that situation. Obviously, Red hasn't done a lot of recon, so he/she didn't know that there were two shiny new Bunkers waiting for all of those Zerglings. A counterattack consists of three parts: recon, defense, reprisal. If Red had quite a few Sunken Colonies, or (more likely) Lurkers hanging around, Blue could have jumped to Siege Tanks. Red would have had no chance. If Blue has a Comsat station or sends an SCV or two out to Red's main to see what he/she's up to, then Blue is better off in this regard. After an attack, Red has that much less units at the base, and so, in the case of Zerglings, Siege Tanks would have been torn apart. But since Blue took out quite a few, it's safe to assume that Red may be changing tactics. If you have been in this situation before and didn't know what Red had at the base, consider making your recon more aggressive. Send SCVs or Marines out to the base and see how they get torn to shreds. If it's by Zerglings, make Firebats. If it's by Hydralisks, make more Marines or Siege Tanks. If it's by Lurkers, consider putting a second Comsat Station at your expansion Command Center and doing Tanks. Think of how much your opponent has at the base, and see if a counterattack will either cripple his economy (by destroying his workers), or surgically disabling his unit production (by destroying Spawning Pool/Hydralisk Den). I shall have more on surgical strikes and reconnaisance further down. 2.3.3. The Feint One of the most dreaded things, particularly in team games, is the massing of one type of unit. For Terran, it's often the Battlecruiser. For Protoss, it's either Dragoons or Carriers. For Zerg, it's usually a combination, but often it can be Guardians or Ultralisks. The feint is probably your best option against Battlecruisers, Carriers, and Guardians. Some may argue that "you shouldn't let your opponent get that far," or something to that effect. It's possible that you may have expanded just as well as your opponent, but you have a more diverse base of units, while your opponent has 20 Battlecruisers. In team games, this can be difficult because one team member can cover for the other by stepping up on attacks, or guarding the other's main base or expansions. So, this can be considered a "last resort" tactic. Here's the idea: Battlecruisers, Carriers, and Guardians are very slow moving. If you can distract them by attacking far away from your real target, it will take them a while to get back. Attacking one place while really attacking another is called the feint. You can attack an expansion or two that are distant from your opponent's main base, and most likely, you will see the large force being scrambled to protect the expansions. In the meantime, you (and your ally, if you are playing team games) are preparing a large strike force against his main base, where all of these large units were being produced. If you have enough hard hitting units (such as Siege Tanks, Reavers, or mass Zerglings with Adrenal Glands), you can take out a main base quickly enough to retreat before being engaged by the large force. If you can take out the main base, your opponent will have to waste resources (and time) to rebuild all of his structures. Of course, you need something to take care of the large force, or your opponent will just rebuild and only suffer a setback in building costs. For Terran, you can use Lockdown and EMP for Battlecruisers and Carriers, and Irradiate for large Zerg forces. For Zerg, you can use Plague and Dark Swarm, and for Protoss, Stasis Field or Psionic Storm are very useful. Chances are you will not be able to fight them toe to toe with units, unless you have a significant number of Wraiths or Scouts against BCs or Carriers. You will most likely need to rely on special abilities to take out this force. Remember, timing and recon are key to the feint! You need to see your opponent's main force leaving the base and assisting his expansions. Attack your opponent's main base quickly and decisively, then retreat. Be prepared for retaliation, and make sure you have your specific special ability using units ready and charged for the onslaught. You will probably suffer some losses of your own, but if you can destroy even half of the large force, you will have won a major victory, for remember: your opponent can not replace these units right away, and the food limit prevented him/her from having much more than you see. 2.3.4. Surgical Strikes Surgical strikes are attacks against your opponent's main base that result in the closing off of one of the technology branches. Getting harassed by Hydralisks? Go for their Den. Seeing a large Protoss air force being warped in? Get those Pylons by the Stargates, and hopefully, the Stargates themselves. This is the general idea behind surgical strikes: you want to hit hard and fast, with minimal casualties. The most common type of surgical strike is a drop by the workers. A couple of Reavers, Siege Tanks, or Lurkers can quickly destroy all of the workers getting resources for your opponent. This will cost him in resource intake AND the 50 crystal cost per worker that you destroyed. This is becoming a more and more popular strategy on battle.net, so it always pays to be wary of it. To conduct a surgical strike against your opponent's buildings, you will need some high-damage units: For Terran, Siege Tanks are a very common unit for surgical strikes. They can do a good amount of damage in a short amount of time, and you will possibly only need 4 or so per strike, with a small number of Marines or Goliaths for air support. You don't want 2 Scouts ruining your strike. For Protoss, Reavers or Dark Templar are probably best. Bring along some Scouts or Dragoons for air support with this strike. All I can say is that the more Dark Templar or Dragoons you have, the better. You probably won't need more than 4 Reavers. For Zerg, use Zerglings (with Adrenal Glands, later on) and Hydralisks. The Zerglings will take out the building shortly, while the Hydras provide some air support. If you feel the need for more air support, bring some Mutalisks, Devourers, or Scourges. An added advantage to surgical strikes is that you know that your opponent will either have a surplus or producing units associated with buildings you didn't destroy, so you can counter with this knowledge. Or, you can destroy Overlords, Pylons, or Supply Depots to halt your opponent's unit production completely. However, you should always assume that your opponent has a lot of food producers about. As with the feint, recon and timing are key. You don't want to conduct a surgical strike when your opponent has a large number of units in the base. ----------------------------- 2.4. Reconnaissance Recon is definitely the key to winning in StarCraft. With a good amount of recon, you will be able to tell where and when your opponent is expanding, what type of units there are, and when attacks are coming. In all three cases, recon allows you to plan ahead. People make mistakes in the heat of battle as to what units to produce, what technology branch to develop, etc. If you can know what's going on outside of battle, you won't be as susceptible to these mistakes, and deny your opponent resources and victories in your campaign. Recon is different for all three races, so I'll address it in each race. Terran: While Terran has the easiest recon, it typically doesn't last like the recon with the other races does. The two most common types of recon are using Spider Mines and the ComSat Station's Sensor Sweep. The Sensor Sweep is rather simple; it is just used once and you can tell exactly what's going on. The disadvantage to this is that it is "active," meaning that your opponent knows that you know what's going on. Your opponent also knows that you have one less Sensor Sweep to use if he/she has cloaked units. The Vulture's Spider Mines are the alternative form of recon. Akin to the Zerg's famous burrowed Zergling spies, the Spider Mines allow you to see if an attack is coming, what type of units are in it, and kill off a few ground units as well. You should put them at entrances and at expansions, which tend to be the most used areas. However, as with the Sensor Sweep, the mine generally doesn't last long, and each mine could be considered as costing 25 Crystals and taking 1 supply (close to the Zergling). So, you will not have a lot of extra Spider Mines around unless your opponent likes small units. An alternative form of recon that can take a bit of micromanagement is the cloaked Wraith. The Wraith is fast and invisible (as long as it has energy), much like the Protoss Observer. This form of recon is very good for scouting expansions, particularly on island maps. You want to save the Sensor Sweeps for bases that you know exist, and in case you don't have detection in an area when you are being attacked by cloaked units. Of course, if your opponent doesn't have Missile Turrets/Photon Cannons/Spore Colonies at his base (which isn't likely), you can send in the Wraith to see things there. However, if that's the case, you should send in a group of Wraiths to destroy the workers and anything else you can get. Protoss: The Protoss have one main form of recon, and it's probably the best in the game: the Observer. The Observer stays cloaked and can be upgraded to a very good sight range. It's cheap and requires little food (the same as a Ghost). Keeping Observers tagged to your attack forces, scouting expansions, or spying in main bases all are commonplace. You can keep these things all over the map, and have a good idea of what's going on. The only problem with this recon is that it has trouble getting deep into main bases. An alternative is to use Shuttles, preferably with the speed upgrade. You will most likely have Shuttles around early, and while they can't cloak, they are comparable to the Wraith in their method of scouting. They can be used to look around at expansions, particularly on island maps. Zerg: The Zerg tend to be a bit sneaky in their recon. The first method is using burrowed Zerglings, used much in the same way as Spider Mines. However, you can have a large supply of Zerglings around the map, which is a limitation with the mines. Keep the Zerglings burrowed around entrances, and try to keep them by crystal patches. It can be hard to spot a Zergling well positioned by a crystal patch until it's too late. Queens are the other, more aggressive form of recon. They can be used like Wraiths or Shuttles to scout expansions, but their best form is via Parasite. Parasiting transports, workers, defensive units, and so forth can give you a lot of permanent recon. Until your opponent notices, you will have a nice view into what's going on. Unfortunately, Medics can remove Parasite, so you will find that this method is less effective against Terran. Of course, you should always send a worker out early in the game to see where your opponents' main bases are, and to see what direction they are headed in. I suggest sending out the 9th or 10th worker, or even earlier. For example, if you see a Protoss player building a Forge before a Gateway, chances are that you will see some Photon Cannons either by your base, or even inside your base. Keep scouting about your base with workers or early attack units in that case. I'll cover that more in Terran and Protoss strategies on offensive defense. Remember: recon is the key to winning StarCraft. If you know what your opponent's doing better than he/she knows your strategies, you will most likely win. ----------------------------- 3. Race Specific Strategy Every race in StarCraft is rather unique. You will have different technology trees, different methods of producing units, and different ways of providing "food." If you're unsure which race to start playing, or which race to become proficient in, I'll talk about all of the units, buildings, and specific strategies to playing all of the races in this section. ----------------------------- 3.1. Terran The Terrans have a couple of properties that you should know. First, all of their units and buildings can be healed immediately. All infantry (Marines, Firebats, Medics, Ghosts, SCVs) can be healed quickly by Medic, and all other units and buildings can be repaired by SCVs, using resources. Using more than one SCVs will expedite the process. Most of the main Terran buildings can "lift off" and move about. While they move rather slowly, this can be a definite advantage in surgical strikes and attacks. If you're thinking of moving them elsewhere, be warned: they move very slowly. Any add-ons left will be disabled and can be used by anyone. Also, all Terran buildings will "burn down" once you see their hit points turn red. They will slowly lose HP until they are destroyed unless they are repaired. Food for Terrans in StarCraft is done the same way it was done for both races in WarCraft 2. Supply Depots provide 8 Supply per Depot to you. Unlike the other two races, these buildings have no other properties. Therefore, they are often easy to forget. As soon as you see your supply getting short, build more, and keep building. Even when you have enough Supply Depots to provide 200 Supply, you should probably build a few extra if you plan to keep your army intact. ----------------------------- 3.1.1. Marines Produced at: Barracks Upgrades: Requires: Barracks U-238 Shells (+1 Range) (Organic ground unit) Ground damage: Normal - Academy Air damage: Normal Stimpack (special ability) - Academy Weapon and Armor upgrades - Engineering Bay Marines are surprisingly sturdy for a unit with low attack power and HP. While I wouldn't recommend them against a Protoss opponent, against a Zerg opponent you can use Marines reliably. Up until your opponent gets Lurkers, Guardians, or Ultralisks, Marines will probably beat anything you see against Zerg. Marines are also the unit of choice for Bunkers. Combined with U-238 Shells and the bonuses the Bunker provides, a Bunker can be tough to get by. Use the Marine against: Terran: - Firebat (don't let them get in close) - Wraith - Valkyrie Protoss: - Zealot (if you have greater numbers, upgrades, and perhaps Medics) - Dragoon (beware if they have a good amount) - Corsair - Scout Zerg: - Zergling - Hydralisk - Mutalisk - Scourge - Devourer Remember that Marines do not have a lot of hit points, so they will get beaten by anything that does a lot of base damage. The exception is the Dragoon, because they only do half damage to a Marine. However, if there are a lot of Dragoons, use something else. Special ability: - Stimpack The Stimpack will allow your Marine or Firebat to move twice as fast and have half the cooldown (fire twice as fast), but at the cost of 10 HP. It will last for a few seconds. The effects of the Stimpack are not cumulative, meaning that you should only use one Stimpack at a time. Wait until the first Stimpack wears off, then use another. ----------------------------- 3.1.2. Firebats Produced at: Barracks Upgrades: Requires: Academy Stimpack (special ability) (Organic ground unit) Ground damage: Concussive splash damage - Academy Weapon and Armor upgrades - Engineering Bay Firebats are more specialized that Marines are. They are not an all-purpose unit like the Marine can be, mostly due to their concussive damage. There are a select few units that you should use your Firebats against, which are obviously small, melee units. Their range is rather limited, making them melee units. If you see your opponent using a lot of Zerglings or Zealots for attack, use the Firebat for attack yourself, or put one in a bunker. The other use for Firebats is in worker drops, but I think that Vultures and Siege Tanks are just as effective in that. Use the Firebat against: Terran: - Not much you can do. They don't work against Marines because of the Marines' range. The only use against Terran is in worker drops. Protoss: - Zealots - Dark Templar (be careful here; a good number of DT's will ruin any force of Firebats) Zerg: - Zerglings Keep in mind that the Firebats are specialized units, so they should only be built if you are countering your opponent. Otherwise, you should only build them for worker drops. Special Ability: - Stimpack See Marines. ----------------------------- 3.1.3. Medics Produced at: Barracks Upgrades: Requires: Academy Restoration (special ability) (Organic ground unit) - Academy Optical Flare (special ability) - Academy Caduceus Reactor (+50 energy) - Academy Armor upgrades - Engineering Bay Medics are support units for Terran infantry. They start with Healing, which automatically heals your infantry units. This can greatly extend the lifespan of your Marines and Firebats in battle, and are easily keys to victory in small battles. They are an excellent complement to any strike force of Marines, and should always be produced. In fact, once you have Restoration and Optical Flare, you should have a couple around your base anyway. Special Abilities: - Heal Heal will allow a Medic to automatically replenish the HP of a fellow organic ground unit, as long as she is in range. This includes your Terran infantry, and your allies' Zealots, High Templar, Dark Templar, and all friendly Zerg ground units. Using Heal will drain the Medic's energy, but it will take a while for her to use it all. - Restoration Restoration will remove all status anomalies from the target, with the exception of Stasis Field. This includes such nasty anomalies such as Parasite, Plague, Lockdown, Irradiate, and so forth. Each use spends 50 energy. - Optical Flare Usable at a long range, Optical Flare will reduce the target's sight to 1, permanently, unless removed by a Medic. This has limited use, but can be used most notably against long range attackers such as Siege Tanks, or to block cloak detection against Overlords, Observers, etc. Each use spends 75 energy. ----------------------------- 3.1.4. Ghosts Produced at: Barracks Upgrades: Requires: Science Facility with Lockdown (special ability) (Organic ground unit) attached Covert Ops, - Covert Ops Academy Personal Cloaking (special ability) Ground attack: Concussive - Covert Ops Air attack: Concussive Optical Implants (increase sight) - Covert Ops Moebius Reactor (+50 energy) - Covert Ops The Ghost's primary purpose is to sight a target for nuclear strikes. However, the Lockdown ability is also very useful against any mechanical unit. The Ghost is rather weak at 45 HP and low armor, but he relies on stealth and covert operations to do his damage. He is equipped with a rifle that does Concussive damage, but this is only useful on small units such as infantry or Mutalisks. Special Abilities: - Nuclear Strike The Nuclear Strike is the most powerful weapon in the Terran arsenal. A strike will do about 500 damage in the target area, with lesser damage being dealt to units or buildings farther from ground zero. First, for a Nuclear Strike to be conducted, you must have a Nuclear Silo add-on to a Command Center, and the Nuclear Silo must be armed. Then, a Ghost can pinpoint a location for the nuclear strike that he can see. Once pinpointed, the Ghost must remain in sight of the target area, and stay immobile. This leaves the Ghost very vulnerable to attack, but the Ghost can remain cloaked during this process. If the Ghost survives the targeting period, the Nuke will complete its descent and detonate in the target area, damaging it and the surrounding areas for quite some distance. A couple of things you can do to ensure a successful nuclear launch are the following: - Distract your opponent with an attack at an expansion or on the other side of the base. But, if you are going for units, remember that a feint of this sort will divert the units from your nuclear strike. - Keep a force of units (Siege Tanks, Goliaths, Medics) around the Ghost to repel any attack. This will reveal your position, but may buy you the needed time to complete the strike. - Once you believe your Ghost has been spotted, you can cast a Defensive Matrix on him to extend his life. Don't nuke from lower ground, and don't be wasteful. A good Zerg player will most likely spot your Ghost very easily due to the large number of Overlords around. A Protoss player will probably have a few Observers around, so make sure you scout the area well before striking. - Personal Cloaking This ability simply activates a cloaking field similar to that of the Wraith. It requires 25 energy to activate and will drain your energy reserves until you decloak. Cloaked Ghosts may only be spotted by Cloak Detectors. - Lockdown This special ability is one of the most useful in StarCraft. It targets a single mechanical unit. A projectile will be launched from the Ghost and impact the targeted mechanical unit, shorting out its systems and disabling it for 60 seconds. Using Lockdown on several enemy units can be the key to victory in an attack or in the defense of your base. Locking down key Siege Tanks, Reavers, or Battlecruisers can easily turn the tide of a battle. Each use expends 100 energy. ----------------------------- 3.1.5. Vultures Produced at: Factory Upgrades: Requires: Factory Spider Mines (can place 3 mines) (Mechanical ground unit) Ground attack: Concussive - Machine Shop Ion Thrusters (faster movement) - Machine Shop Weapon and Armor upgrades - Armory The Vulture is also a specialized unit, but their Spider Mines give them a few more uses. Like the Firebat, the Vulture does Concussive damage, so it is designed for small units. However, they have longer range, and are speedy, so they can be used against effectively against any of the small units in StarCraft. The Spider Mines can be used in my recon strategy detailed above, or for defense of your units or bases. Use the Vulture against: Terran - Marines - Firebats - Ghosts Protoss - Zealots - Dark Templar - Archons (just don't get close, remember that Protoss shields take full damage) Zerg - Zerglings Like the Firebat, Vultures should mainly be built as countering units, but you do want a few around to drop some mines about. Special Ability: - Spider Mine Each Vulture gets 3 Spider Mines, which can't be replaced. Each Spider Mine has 25 HP and does 125 normal splash damage. The mine takes a while to plant, but once it does, it's becomes cloaked, similar to the Zerg's burrowing ability. Most enemy ground units will cause the mine to unburrow, move towards the enemy unit, and detonate. Some "hovering" ground units will not set off the mines, such as all three worker units, Vultures, and Archons. But, any cloaked unit is able to set off the mine. I suggest that if you are using the mines for defense, use more than one in an area, as ranged units such as Marines and Hydralisks will be able to clear a mine as soon as it comes up. ----------------------------- 3.1.6. Siege Tanks Produced at: Factory Upgrades: Requires: Machine Shop Siege Tech (allows Siege Mode) (Mechanical ground unit) Ground attack: Explosive splash - Machine Shop (siege mode) Weapon and Armor upgrades: Ground attack: Explosive (tank mode) - Armory The Siege Tank is a long-range, heavy assault ground attack unit. Siege Tanks have two modes: Tank Mode, where the Siege Tank has mobility, but an explosive attack of 20 damage. Once researched, Siege Mode sacrifices the Tank's mobility for 70 explosive splash damage at great range (so great, that the range is longer than the tank's sight). The large damage, coupled with a very long range allow you to destroy many ground units or a few buildings with a small number of tanks. Obviously, these units need air supports, so they are complemented well by Marines or Goliaths. The other catch is that the Siege Tank can't fire within two spaces of where it's sitting, so any melee unit will be able to take out the Siege Tank before it can get back into Tank Mode. Use the Siege Tank against: Terran: - Marine - Vulture - Goliath Protoss: - Dragoon - Reaver - Archon Zerg: - Hydralisk - Ultralisk (but you will need extra Tanks or added support against them) The Siege Tank is very effective in attack or for defense, so you should always have quite a few sitting around. Just keep in mind that melee and air units beat them. Special Abilities: - Siege Mode Once researched, this makes the Tank plant itself in the ground, and prepares the Arclite Shock Cannon. This does a great amount of splash damage at great range, making it very useful for attacks from high ground or across water. The Siege Tank can't move while in Siege Mode. - Tank Mode This reverts the Siege Tank back into its previous mobile state, with the lesser cannon. ----------------------------- 3.1.7. Goliaths Produced at: Factory Upgrades: Requires: Armory Charon Boosters (increased air range) (Mechanical ground unit) Ground damage: Normal - Machine Shop Air damage: Explosive Weapon and Armor upgrades - Armory The Goliath is a rather sturdy anti-aircraft unit. They have two weapons: Twin Autocannons for ground units, and Hellfire Missile Pack for air units. The air damage is significantly greater than the ground damage, especially once you research the Charon Boosters upgrade. Goliaths are useful against practically any air unit. Even Guardians may have a tough time with Goliaths, but only with the air range upgrade. Goliaths are especially useful at the edges of your base to discourage air drops. Use the Goliath against: Terran: - Wraith - Valkyrie - Battlecruiser (make sure you outnumber them) Protoss: - Corsair - Scout - Carrier - Arbiter Zerg: - Mutalisk - Scourge - Devourer Unless you are on an island map or your opponent is going heavy air, I wouldn't recommend building Goliaths right off the bat. However, Goliaths complement Siege Tanks well on drops, so if you are planning a drop on your opponent, you definitely want some Goliaths. ----------------------------- 3.1.8. Wraiths Produced at: Starport Upgrades: Requires: Starport Cloaking Field (special ability) (Mechanical air unit) Ground attack: Normal - Control Tower Air attack: Explosive Apollo Reactor (+50 energy) - Control Tower Weapon and Armor upgrades - Armory The Wraith is an air-superiority fighter. It has a small ground attack, which allows it to strike units. However, I don't recommend using it against ground units unless they can't fire back, or unless you have a large number. However, Wraiths are excellent against heavily armored air units since they hit hard in the air. Because they can cloak, they can be used for recon, for surgical strikes, or it will provide you with an advantage in attack. Keep a close eye out for detectors. Use the Wraith against: Terran: - Firebat - Vulture - Siege Tank - Battlecruiser (have a lot of Wraiths) Protoss: - Zealot - Dark Templar - Reaver - Carrier Zerg: - Zergling - Guardian - Devourer (be careful, acid spores will reveal cloaked Wraiths) - Ultralisk Wraiths are definitely useful on island maps, but tend not to be useful in the air unless against heavily armored air units. Scouts, Valkyries, and Corsairs hurt them rather badly, and your only advantage is cloaking. However, their speed and stealth can be a rather deadly combination. Special Ability: - Cloaking Field Cloaking Field cloaks your Wraith, but it is temporary. Like the Ghost, Cloaking Field costs 25 energy to activate and drains your energy until you uncloak. While cloaked, your Wraith may only be detected by Cloak Detection, such as Overlords, Observers, or Sensor Sweep. ----------------------------- 3.1.9. Dropships Produced at: Starport Upgrades: Requires: Control Tower Armor upgrades (Mechanical air unit) - Armory The Dropship is rather simple. It is the only transport that has no extra abilities/upgrades. Each dropship can carry 8 "slots" of units. Here's how many squares each unit takes up: SCV: 1 Marine: 1 Firebat: 1 Medic: 1 Ghost: 1 Vulture: 2 Siege Tank: 4 Goliath: 2 So, a Dropship can carry any combination of these slots, as long as it doesn't exceed eight. That means you can carry 8 Marines, or 6 Marines and a Goliath, 4 Marines and a Siege Tank, etc. ----------------------------- 3.1.10. Science Vessels Produced at: Starport Upgrades: Requires: Science Facility EMP Shockwave (special ability) (Mechanical air unit) - Science Facility Irradiate (special ability) - Science Facility Titan Reactor (+50 energy) - Science Facility Armor upgrades - Armory The primary use for the Science Vessel is as a mobile cloak Detector, but it also has some very useful special abilities. Like many of the special ability users in StarCraft, the Science Vessel has abilities that is seemingly designed for the other races. Science Vessels also have a lot of HP, more than any other special ability using unit. However, they are ripe targets for Scouts or Scourges, so be wary. Special Abilities: - Defensive Matrix Defensive Matrix puts an all-absorbing shield on any unit. This shield will last until 30 seconds has passed or it has taken 250 HP of damage. This ability is very useful if you have quite a few Science Vessels about. You can Matrix a good portion of your attack force (particularly Battlecruisers, Siege Tanks, and anything else that does quite a bit of damage), or even Matrix your allies. Defensive Matrix expends 100 energy per use. - EMP Shockwave The EMP Shockwave is carried in a missile, which is launched from the Science Vessel and detonates in the target area. All units (and buildings) in the affected area have their shields reduced to zero, and all units with energy in the area have their energy reduced to zero. Obviously, this is very effective against Protoss, particularly Archons. EMP Shockwave has other effects as well that may not be as obvious: - You can EMP a group of cloaked wraiths (even blindly), and their cloak will deactivate. This can be used as a last resort if your Science Vessel falls under attack by a group of Wraiths. - EMP Battlecruisers before they strike your base to prevent use of the Yamato Cannon. - EMP Medics to slow down healing or prevent Restoration if you decide to Lockdown your opponent's units. - EMP High Templar to stop pesky Psionic Storms. You get the idea: any unit with shields or energy is greatly affected by the EMP Shockwave. EMP Shockwave expends 100 energy per use. - Irradiate Irradiate may be used on your units or on your enemy's units. Similar to Flame Shield in WarCraft 2, Irradiate creates a cloud of radiation that will affect nearby units and the unit that Irradiate was cast on. Irradiate will do a steady amount of damage to any organic units in the area. Irradiate will last for 30 seconds, and will do a bit more than 200 damage to the affected unit. Since all Zerg units are organic, this spell is very effective against that race. Try the following: - Cast Irradiate in the middle of a pack of Zerg air units. Since air units tend to stay bunched up, your opponent will have to find the Irradiate unit and remove it before it kills the group from the inside out. - You can kill an Overlord with a single Irradiate, so you can try and put them behind in supply. - Ultralisks will take at least 200 damage from a single Irradiate, so this will severly weaken them. - Cast Irradiate on a Wraith, and fly it over an SCV or Drone line. It's cheaper than a drop, and you can run out quickly if necessary. - Cast Irradiate on your Siege Tanks if you have trouble with melee units such as Zealots or Zerglings. This will probably kill a lot of Zerglings and hurt Zealots quite a bit. Irradiate will affect any organic unit, which includes Terran infantry (including SCV), all Zerg units, and the Protoss Zealot, High Templar, and Dark Templar. Each use expends 75 energy. ----------------------------- 3.1.11. Valkyries Produced at: Starport Upgrades: Requires: Armory, Control Tower Weapon and Armor upgrades (Mechanical air unit) Air attack: Explosive splash - Armory The Valkyrie is a rather specialized unit. It is virtually a tank, with 200 hit points and 2 starting armor, but it still falls to Wraiths, Devourers, and Scouts. However, it fires a ton of rockets that have a very large splash radius and does a little bit of damage. Once upgraded, these ships can be quite fearsome. However, with their cost, they are not meant to be around all the time; they are a counter unit. If you see your opponent building a lot of small air, you will definitely want some Valkyries to escort your units. Also, if you are planning on building a lot of Valkyries, make an effort to upgrade their attack, as it grows exponentially with upgrades. So, as is the case with Corsairs, use Valkyries on light air, but definitely against light air. They are quick to send into battle, can do plenty of damage, and retreat for repairs. ----------------------------- 3.1.12. Battlecruisers Produced at: Starport Upgrades: Requires: Science Facility with Yamato Cannon (special ability) (Mechanical air unit) attached Physics Lab, - Physics Lab Control Tower Colossus Reactor (+50 energy) Ground attack: Normal - Physics Lab Air attack: Normal Weapon and Armor upgrades - Armory The Battlecruiser is a flying fortress. At 500 HP, high armor, and a significant amount of damage, they can be hard to take down. There are not many units that you have to worry about against Battlecruisers if you have a large enough number under your command. Wraiths, Scouts, and Devourers combined with another air attacking unit are your only worries. Your main concerns are Lockdown, EMP Shockwave (for Yamato), Plague, Dark Swarm, Psionic Storm, and Stasis Field. If you are quick on the trigger with the Yamato Cannon, you can avert a lot of these threats, but you have to be very aware of your surroundings. Do not worry about Valkyries and Corsairs and other low damage units because the Battlecruiser's armor is quite high and nullifies most of the damage. Battlecruisers require a lot of technology and resources to produce. Their build time is also rather significant. You will need to divert a lot of attention and resources to a large group of Battlecruisers, so you have to be careful of attack before you get a large force up. Use the Battlecruiser against: Terran - Marine - Firebat - Vulture - Siege Tank - Valkyrie Protoss - Zealot - Dark Templar - Archon - Reaver - Corsair - Carrier (advantage grows if your armor upgrades beat their weapon upgrades for the Carriers) Zerg - Zergling - Lurker - Ultralisk - Mutalisk (not if coupled with Devourers) - Guardian To maximize the effectiveness of your Battlecruisers, you will most likely need to repair your Battlecruisers after battle. Bring your SCVs along in a Dropship, or go back to your base and have at least 4 SCVs repairing a BC at a time. Use waypoints (shift-clicking) to set up a repairing queue. Your BCs will be finished in a minute or so. Special Ability: - Yamato Cannon The Yamato Cannon will do 260 damage to a single target. This allows you to destroy Missile Turrets, Photon Cannons, and do heavy damage to other base structures. Once the Cannon is activated, it takes a few seconds to charge, and then it fires a blast at the unit or building selected. As long as the targeted unit doesn't run too far away, the blast will follow the unit and deal its damage. Each use expends 150 energy, so you will not be able to use this very often. Select your targets wisely. ----------------------------- 3.1.12. Bunkers Requires: Barracks Bunkers are the primary defensive structure for the Terran army. They are simply protective buildings for four of your infantry units. Normally, you would put Marines in these bunkers, but depending on what you're up against, you may want to put Firebats in. Ghosts are not really recommended, unless you want to protect them. If you see an attack coming, grab some SCVs and have them ready to repair your Bunkers as they get attacked. If you're good at micromanagement, leave your Marines outside the bunker, Stimpack them, then send them in. Bunkers become more useless as the game goes on, due to higher-armor units. Bunkers are rather useless against units such as Battlecruisers, Carriers, or Ultralisks because the Marines simply don't do enough damage. Siege Tank or Goliath support can help, but I really don't recommend turtling and waiting for impending doom while your opponent expands and beats you with overwhelming numbers. A more common strategy for Bunkers is to place some around your opponent's chokepoint by the main base. This will effectively prevent your opponent from getting out the main extrance, and can have significant psychological impacts. However, make sure you keep this outpost expendable; you don't want to suffer heavy losses and end up behind because of an offensive bunkering tactic. ----------------------------- 3.1.13. Missile Turrets Requires: Engineering Bay Missile Turrets became more important after Brood War, because two new cloaked units were introduced: the Dark Templar, and the Lurker. However, if you see your opponent going for these units early, you should be able to level their main base, but make sure you get in quickly. One Dark Templar or Lurker can ruin an attack quite quickly. However, regardless of the attack, you should build Missile Turrets around so that you can detect any cloaked units. Obviously, Missile Turrets are meant to protect your base from aerial attack. A couple of Missile Turrets can deter a drop from destroying your workers. They can also prevent a cloaked Wraith attack, Scout attack, etc. Make sure you have enough to cover your base, but don't be excessive in building. Also, make sure that your opponent is indeed going air. Missile Turrets will just add to your opponent's razings score if all that is created is a ground force. ----------------------------- 3.2. Zerg Strategy The Zerg have a few unique properties. First, all of their buildings and units regenerate. This is a very slow process, however. Their technology tree is nearly identical to that of the races in WarCraft 2. The main Zerg structure provides for three technology levels. The first level includes Zerglings, Hydralisks, and base defense structures. The second level, achieved by evolving the Hatchery to a Lair, provides for Lurkers, Queens, Mutalisks, and Scourges, and Overlord upgrades. The final level, achieved by evolving the Lair to a Hive, provides for Nydus Canals, Adrenal Glands, Guardians, Devourers, Ultralisks, and Defilers. All Zerg units, excepting the Infested Terran, are produced at a Hatchery. The Hatchery will have up to 3 Larvae surrounding it, which can morph into any of the Zerg warrior strains. The general strategy for Zerg attacks is simply in overwhelming swarms because their units are so cheap to produce. However, there can be some micromanagement with such units as the Queen, Defiler, and Devourer. Build as many Hatcheries as you need to produce units, and hotkey them efficiently. ----------------------------- 3.2.1. Overlords Requires: Hatchery Upgrades: Antennae (increased sight range) (Air organic unit) - Lair or Hive Pnuematized Carapace (faster movement) - Lair or Hive Ventral Sacs (transport ability) - Lair or Hive Carapace Upgrades - Spire The Overlord has a plentitude of purposes. Its primary purpose is to provide Control over your units, which is the Zerg equivalent of food for your forces. However, it has three other obvious purposes: transport, cloak detection, and scouting. For transport, the Overlord is precisely like the Terran Dropship. It has eight slots to carry units. Since the Zerg forces are typically numerous, you will most likely employ several Overlords in dropping. You will need to evolve Ventral Sacs to employ this. The Zerg ground forces break down as follows: Drone: 1 Zergling: 1 Hydralisk: 2 Lurker: 4 Ultralisk: 4 Defiler: 2 Infested Terran: 1 For cloak detection and transport, you will definitely want the Pnuematized Carapace upgrade. Improved in previous a patch, this will make the Overlord far more quick in movement. Also, the Antennae upgrade increases the Overlord sight, which improves your cloak detection in turn. You should always have an Overlord or two around in every base, but you must be careful. Since they have a low amount of hit points as compared to the Pylon or Supply Depot, your opponents will make destroying Overlords a priority. So, you should always have a surplus around, if not for food, but also for detection and transporting that huge army. You can also use them to explore the map, since they are naturally abundant for their cost. ----------------------------- 3.2.2. Zerglings Requires: Spawning Pool Upgrades: Ground attack: Normal Metabolic Boost (faster movement) (Ground organic unit) - Spawning Pool Adrenal Glands (reduced cooldown) - Spawning Pool (requires Hive) Melee and Carapace Upgrades - Evolution Chamber The Zergling is the embodiment of the Swarm: weak alone, but very deadly in numbers. Even without the Adrenal Glands upgrades, you will notice that a large number of these creatures will tear down anything in their path. They do little damage, so they will be overcome by heavy armor, but lightly armored opponents such as infantry units and buildings will be destroyed in a matter of seconds if numbers are sufficient enough. Use Zerglings against: Terran - Siege Tank - Goliath Zerg - Hydralisk (watch out for large groups) Protoss - Dragoon Zerglings are not exactly effective counter units, except for the few units listed here. They are far more effective against defenseless structures simply because they are so weak and are melee units. However, a large number of them with the speed and cooldown will overwhelm a large sized army, except against a large number of Firebats, Lurkers, or Reavers. Since it does not take long for them to destroy a worker group or a building, and since they are expendable, they are excellent in surgical strikes/drops. Of course, they are also commonly used in the beginning of the game in a rush. ----------------------------- 3.2.3. Hydralisks Requires: Hydralisk Den Upgrades: Ground attack: Explosive Muscular Augments (faster movement) (Ground organic unit) Air attack: Explosive - Hydralisk Den Grooved Spines (+1 attack range) - Hydralisk Den Lurker Aspect (morph to Lurker) - Hydralisk Den (requires Lair) Missile and Carapace Upgrades - Evolution Chamber The Hydralisk will often be a mainstay unit in Zerg armies. Like the Dragoon and Goliath, it is often considered an anti-air unit, and is used in that regard as complements to Zergling or Ultralisk strikes. While they can have a tough time against heavily armored units such as the Battlecruiser or Carrier, they are usually sufficient as long as you stay close to equal on upgrades. They have a variety of uses and are far sturdier than Zerglings are. Use the Hydralisk against: Terran - Vulture - Goliath - Wraith - Valkyrie - Battlecruiser Zerg - Devourer - Ultralisk (stay ahead on attack upgrades, and outnumber, of course) Protoss - Archon - Scout - Corsair - Carrier While the Hydralisk is good against air units, you must be careful against heavy air. A good force of Battlecruisers or Carriers will tear apart a Hydralisk force, so you will need to be supported by Devourers and/or Defilers. Since their attack is explosive and not very damaging, they are not very effective against small units such as Marines, Zerglings, and Zealots (though they do full damage to shields). ----------------------------- 3.2.4. Lurker Requires: Lurker Aspect, Upgrades: Hydralisk Missile and Carapace Upgrades (Ground organic unit) Ground attack: Normal - Evolution Chamber (splash along a line) The Lurker is evolved from a Hydralisk, but can't be done so until the Lurker Aspect ability is researched at a Hydralisk Den. It is a very devastating unit, but, like the Siege Tank, it takes some time to set up. The Lurker has no regular attack; it can only attack while burrowed. However, when it does attack, it strikes all from on a line from it to a point 8 matrices away. This makes it ideal for attacks by large numbers of ground units, such as Zerglings, Zealots, or Marines. However, it is also useful against anything with a short range attack on the ground, and also for drops against someone with poor cloak detection. Use the Lurker against: Terran - Marine - Firebat - Vulture - Goliaths Zerg - Zergling - Hydralisk Protoss - Zealot - Dragoon - Dark Templar You should always watch for cloak detection with Lurkers, because while they can take quite a bit of damage, their biggest vulnerability is being detected. However, with the possible exception of Dragoons and Dark Templar, your Lurkers should still be able to handle quite a bit of punishment from these units. Use them for base defense, or use them in a drop or as added support against light ground units. ----------------------------- 3.2.5. Scourge Requires: Spire Upgrades: Air attack: Normal Carapace Upgrades (Air organic unit) - Spire The Scourge is a specific task unit. Upon contact with an enemy aerial unit, it kills itself and deals 110 damage to the target in the process. While you may be one to create hordes of Scourges against air attacks, you have to keep a few things in mind: - The AI for Scourge tend to bunch up on one target. Even when using attack move, the Scourge will often bunch up on the leading unit in a formation. Some will even be lost after the unit is destroyed, resulting in a waste of resources. You may have to micromanage them a bit. - Counterattacks can destroy many Scourge. While units with slower attacks may not be able to catch them in time, large packs of air units will. Battlecruisers in particular will destroy a Scourge in one hit. The best strategy is to have them behind a force that is absorbing most of the damage, or to target them on single units such as Dropships, Overlords, Shuttles, Observers, etc. Remember, the idea is not to be wasteful. While they can be a useful diversion, it's best to use them for their real purpose and set up a diversion for them to get in with. ----------------------------- 3.2.6. Mutalisk Requires: Spire Upgrades: Air attack: Normal Guardian Aspect (morph to Guardian) (Organic air unit) Ground attack: Normal - Requires Greater Spire Devourer Aspect (morph to Devourer) - Requires Greater Spire Flyer Attack and Carapace Upgrades - Spire The Mutalisk is the mainstay small air unit for the Zerg. However, unlike the Wraith and Scout, it's uses can be quite different. It's small attack amount in the air can make it rather ineffective against heavily armored units such as the Battlecruiser or Carrier. That's what Devourers are for: to reduce their armor so the Mutalisks can do more damage. The Mutalisk has a unique type of splash damage. After the attack does damage to a target, it hits two other targets for lesser damage. While the Mutalisks may be small sized, they still can't exactly stand up to Wraiths or Scouts. Think of it this way: even after they only do half damage to the Mutalisks, they still do more damage, attack faster, and have longer range. Also, keep in mind that the Ghost isn't as ineffective in attacking the Mutalisk as you may think. I have, on a couple of occasions, put a couple of Ghosts in my bunkers if my opponent goes mass Mutas. Usually I'll do a nuclear strike as a counter attack after that. Use the Mutalisk against: Terran - Firebat - Vulture - Siege Tank Zerg - Zergling - Hydralisk - Lurker - Ultralisk - Guardian Protoss - Zealot - Dark Templar - Reaver A couple of notes: Terran and Protoss have a far easier time with Zerg than enemy Zerg does. Terran can use a combination of Marines, Goliaths, Wraiths, and Valkyries, or overrun you with Battlecruisers. All of these air units, excepting perhaps Valkyries can be overcome with Devourers in support. Also have Scourge around for Science Vessels. Protoss have Dragoons, Scouts, Corsairs, Carriers, and High Templar to take care of Mutalisks. However, you either need equal Mutalisks, Scourge, or perhaps Hydralisks under a Dark Swarm. ----------------------------- 3.2.7. Guardian Requires: Guardian Aspect, Upgrades: Mutalisk Flyer Attack and Carapace Upgrades (Air organic unit) Ground attack: Normal - Spire The Guardian is the Zerg's siege unit. It has a very long range, making it ideal for eliminating base defense, and short range air attack units. They are also well armored and do enough damage on the ground to make them excellent for base assault. However, they have no air attack, so you will need to support them with Mutalisks and/or Devourers, or perhaps a few Scourge if your opponent hasn't established air units. Just make sure you establish good recon with Overlords or Queens before you strike, because the slow speed of the Guardian slows deployment and makes retreat unfeasible. Use the Guardian against: Terran - Marine - Firebat - Ghost - Vulture - Siege Tank Zerg - Zergling - Hydralisk - Lurker - Ultralisk Protoss - Zealot - Dragoon (be careful, they have a good range when upgraded) - Dark Templar - Archon (Ensnare is useful) - Reaver The bottom line here is have good recon or a significant amount of air support before you deploy your Guardians. A large group of Wraiths, Scouts, or Guardians can really ruin your day. ----------------------------- 3.2.8. Devourer Requires: Devourer Aspect, Upgrades: Mutalisk Flyer Attack and Carapace Upgrades (Air organic unit) Air attack: Explosive* - Spire The Devourer is the new Zerg flying fortress. Well armored and having a good amount of hit points, it will take a lot to bring it down. They do very well against the mass air attack units such as the Corsair and the Valkyrie, but they have no ground attack, so be aware of heavy ground-to-air strike units such as the Dragoon and Goliath. Their attack does explosive damage, and while it's not as much as the Scout's air attack, it has a unique splash attack. With each attack, an acid spore is attached to the target. This acid spore will also splash onto surrounding units. So, a group of Devourers will be able to quickly attach the maximum number of acid spores to an enemy force. Acid spores reduce the target's armor by 1 per acid spore (even into negatives), and increases the cooldown of the affected unit (it attacks slower). Acid spores will also reveal cloaked units. This makes a Mutalisk/Devourer combination useful in many aspects. Use the Devourer against: Terran: - Valkyrie - Battlecruiser Zerg: - Mutalisk (be careful when outnumbered) - Guardian Protoss: - Corsair - Carrier (be careful, the acid spores don't affect it's cooldown, just armor) Keep in mind that while the Devourer is powerful, it is not a stand alone unit. It's cooldown rate is greater than that of a Siege Tank (in Siege Mode). It is much better served with a group of Mutalisks. Just make sure you group them so that they absorb the damage, since Mutalisks are relatively easy to take down. ----------------------------- 3.2.9. Queen Requires: Queen's Nest Upgrades: Ensnare (special ability) (Air organic unit) - Queen's Nest Spawn Broodling (special ability) - Queen's Nest Gamete Meiosis (+50 energy) - Queen's Nest Flyer Carapace Upgrades - Spire The Queen's special abilities have the potential to be very useful. There are four abilities, three of them being primary. While Parasite and Spawn Broodling are the most useful, don't overlook Ensnare and Infest Command Center. I shall describe them in detail: Special Abilities: - Infest Command Center This ability requires no energy, and is automatic as long as you have a Queen near an enemy Command Center. When an opponent's Command Center gets heavily damaged, the Queen will enter and transform the Command Center into an Infested Command Center. It will be fully healed, and you will have the ability to lift it off and move it elsewhere. It will also be able to produce Infested Terrans, which are walking bombs like the Sappers in WarCraft 2. - Parasite This ability sends a parasite from the Queen to an enemy unit. This parasite attaches itself to the unit and only may be countered by casting Restoration on it or by destroying the unit. While the parasite is attached, it will allow you to see everything that unit sees. So, if you parasite an Observer or Overlord, you will be able to see cloaked units. Each use expends 75 energy. - Ensnare Ensnare is an area-affect spell that will splash upon any units in the target area. Any unit ensnared will have it's movement reduced and it's cooldown is very slightly increased. This spell will also reveal cloaked units as long as they are affected. This spell will remain on the affected units for about 30 seconds. Each use expends 100 energy. - Spawn Broodling Spawn Broodling targets one ground, non-robotic unit. Upon contact, it destroys the unit and places 2 Broodlings in its place. Consdering the energy expenditure of the spell and the weakness of the Broodlings, the spell is more useful because it destroys the targeted unit. Practically any ground unit may be targeted by this spell. Some notable exceptions are the Archons and the Reaver. The most effective targets for this spell are damaging units like the Siege Tank, Ultralisk, and High Templar. Each use expends 150 energy. ----------------------------- 3.2.10. Ultralisk Requires: Ultralisk Cavern Upgrades: Ground attack: Normal Anabolic Synthesis (faster movement) (Ground organic unit) - Ultralisk Cavern Chitinous Plating (+2 armor) - Ultralisk Cavern Melee and Carapace Upgrades - Evolution Chamber Ultralisks are quite durable and ferocious for their cost. Before Brood War, Ultralisks did not have those two upgrades for movement and armor, but they were still useful and underrated then. Don't mass produce them; they will just bunch up around each other. They are melee units, after all. If you are going to produce a lot, use multiple approach vectors. You should probably have no more than 3 or 4 at one spot, especially when assaulting a main base. They are useful for two things: absorbing damage, and fighting off ranged units (especially when coupled with Dark Swarm, see Defiler). Use the Ultralisk against: Terran - Marine - Firebat - Ghost - Vulture - Goliath Zerg - Zergling - Hydralisk (if ahead on armor upgrades) Protoss - Zealot (better with good armor upgrades and Chitinous Plating) - Archon (attacks on large Ultralisks reduce threat of splash damage) - Reaver As you can tell, Ultralisks are more useful against Terran than the other two races. This is very much because once they get inside the Terran range, they will tear practically any ground unit apart. Since the Ultralisk has 400 HP and a ton of armor, they will have time to get in range. You can also use Dark Swarm to assist. It is better for smaller Zerg units, because it's armor gives it a good advantage over Zerglings and Hydralisks. Lurkers will give it a bit of trouble. Protoss is a different story. Zealots and Dark Templar are also melee units, so Dark Swarm will not work against them. Zealots won't do as much damage as Dragoons or Dark Templar, due to the armor, but it's still significant. However, Ultralisks are the best ground units against Reavers because they can absorb at lot of their damage before being taken down. One last thing about the Ultralisk: for some reason, it appears to have a strong psychological effect against your opponent. They have a certain presence on the battlefield that is undenied, and it takes a lot of "pepper" to bring them down. While you can't pack them like Battlecruisers or Carriers, they are still useful from multiple attack vectors, if there are a lot of them. Even better is the fact that they can provide as a significant diversion to your opponent while your drop Lurkers or Zerglings (with Adrenal Glands) in the back of their base. ----------------------------- 3.2.11. Defiler Requires: Defiler Mound Upgrades: Plague (special ability) (Ground organic unit) - Defiler Mound Consume (special ability) - Defiler Mound Metasynaptic Node (+50 energy) - Defiler Mound Carapace Upgrades - Evolution Chamber The Defiler, much like the Science Vessel for the Terrans, has special abilities geared towards the opposing races. Recently increased in cost in a recent patch, the Defiler isn't often used in Zerg battles. This is mostly due to the fact that Zerg armies and attacks are macromanaged due to the sheer number of units required to win. Due to this, micromanagement units such as the Defiler, Scourge and Queen are not commonly used. However, the most useful of these three is definitely the Defiler. Both of its special abilities are area effect spells, so that gives some room for error, and the Consume ability allows quick charging when needed. Special Abilities: - Dark Swarm Dark Swarm is spell that covers a rather large area. Upon activation, the Defiler creates a very dense, dark cloud that is nearly impossible to see into. This effectively neutralizes ranged attacks into the cloud, so this means that units with ranged attacks such as Marines, Hydralisks, flying units, etc. will not be able to strike any unit within the cloud. This protection does not extend to buildings or flying units. However, melee attacks are still fully effective, and units will take splash damage from weapons such as those of the Siege Tank and Reaver. Each use expends 100 Energy. - Plague One of the most potent and deadly special effects in StarCraft, Plague is an area effect spell that affects all units and buildings within its range. Once the Plague spores attach to the affected units, they will slowly reduce the HP of the affected units. This will do around 200-300 to each damage affected, but this spell will not kill any units. Damage will be constantly done to some point below 10 HP, which means that any healing measures will be quickly neutralized. So, this spell is particularly effective against Protoss units, since this spell does not damage shields, and since Protoss can't recover HP. Also, it can send Terran infantry in a frenzy while the Medics try to heal and the Plague keeps doing damage. Each use expends 150 energy. - Consume This a special ability very unique to the defiler. Costing no energy, this allows the Defiler to destroy a friendly unit and gain 50 energy. This is most commonly used on Zerglings, but it can also be used on Larva. A couple of Zerglings can bring a Defiler up to casting a Plague, definitely making it a fearsome ability. ----------------------------- 3.2.12. Infested Terran Requires: Infested Command Center Upgrades: Produced at: Infested Command Center Carapace Upgrades (Ground organic unit) Ground attack: Explosive splash - Evolution Chamber Only available after a Queen has infested a Terran Command Center, the Infested Terran is certainly a powerful, destructive unit. Since they do so much damage, they are better suited towards surgical strikes on buildings or resource production rather than units. The problem with destroying units with them is that Infested Terrans tend to be high-priority targets and are destroyed too quickly to deal their damage. However, when used in a defensive role, they can be particularly effective, since the attacking units are distracted. The Infested Terran is also the only Zerg unit that can be queued, at the Infested Command Center. So, I'd suggest keeping a few around in case you need them. Just remember that they can be picked off rather easily, so keep them in a safe location, and keep them where they won't do colateral damage to your own structures/units. ----------------------------- 3.2.13. Sunken Colony Requires: Spawning Pool Evolved from: Creep Colony The Sunken Colony is far more useful than it used to be previously. It does a total of 40 explosive damage, at a good rate of fire. So, this will provide ample protection against virtually any ground unit. However, it is still outranged by Siege Tanks and Reavers. Also, small units in large numbers such as Zerglings and Zealots will be able to handle a good amount of Colonies before being taken down. They are still a good deterrent to drops and direct base strikes with their very presence. ----------------------------- 3.2.14. Spore Colony Requires: Evolution Chamber Evolved from: Creep Colony Spore Colonies tend not to be used a whole lot because the primary use for them and Missile Turrets is often for detection. With flying Detection around a will, the Zerg have little need for such structures. However, they are still necessary. They have an excellent rate of fire (equal to that of the Hydralisk), and they do plenty of damage to any air unit. While Spore Colonies are little more than a nuisance to large air such as Battlecruisers, Carriers, and Guardians, they can easily stem early rushes of Wraiths or Mutalisks. Do not neglect them and leave your main base open to air attack unless you intend to always leave Hydralisks in your base. ----------------------------- 3.3. Protoss Strategy Since the original single-player campaign started with Terran and went to Zerg, the Protoss were most likely a difficult race for most players to become accustomed to. Protoss units are not nearly as plentiful as Zerg units, but they are far stronger. All of their units have shielding and hit points, and their buildings have shielding as well. The main focus of Protoss strategy can have many facets, you can swarm with a Zealot and Dragoon ground attack, or you can utilize the fast and powerful Scouts and Corsairs in an air attack. Of course, there are heavy hitting units such as Reavers and Carriers than can be used as well. Combine this with the various properties of Protoss such as their powerful magic, and you have a very interesting race to play. All Protoss units and buildings have shielding, and this can be upgraded at a Forge (for a hefty price, of course). Also, keep in mind that a couple of the Protoss units have beneficial upgrades that will make them more effective in battle, particularly the speed upgrades. Upgrade them when you can. ----------------------------- 3.3.1. Zealot Produced at: Gateway Upgrades: Requires: Gateway Leg Enhancements (faster movement) (Organic ground unit) Ground attack: Normal - Citadel of Adun Ground Weapons and Armor - Forge The Zealot is by far the strongest out of the three races' melee units, as it has around 160 HP and a good amount of damage for its cost. Its speed upgrade is quite important, and it should be upgraded when possible. Zealots are most useful in large packs, and they can be employed in a variety of tasks, ranging from fending off ground attacks to quick strikes on worker units. They serve as a fine complement to the Dragoon, which is weak against melee units, while the Zealot is helpless against air strikes. Use the Zealot against: Terran: - Marine - Siege Tank - Goliath Zerg: - Zergling (watch out once Adrenal Glands are researched) - Hydralisk Protoss: - Dragoon - Dark Templar The Zealot will serve as adequate ground defense when coupled with Photon Cannons or Dragoons, but they also are very effective in attacks, granted there are no counter units (such as the Firebat or Lurker). They are also cheap enough to use for reconnaisance before you get Observers, and are a valuable asset to any ground army. ----------------------------- 3.3.2. Dragoon Produced at: Gateway Upgrades: Requires: Cybernetics Core Singularity Charge (longer range) (Mechanical ground unit) Ground attack: Explosive - Cybernetics Core Air attack: Explosive Ground Weapons and Armor - Forge The Dragoon has slowly found its way into Protoss ground. Used before (particularly before Brood War came out) simply as a counter to air units, the Dragoon has now been realized as a valuable asset in ground armies and as a very effective complement to the Zealot. It's attack packs quite a punch to any large or medium unit, and so it can stand with the best of them. Now that they have longer range, consider using them against such big guns as the Siege Tank, Archon and Ultralisk. Also, do not forget their usefulness against practically any air unit. Use the Dragoon against: Terran - Vulture - Goliath - Wraith - Valkyrie Zerg - Hydralisk - Lurker (but not where there is many of them) - Ultralisk - Mutalisk - Devourer Protoss - Scout - Corsair - Archon While the Dragoon is now a strong ground unit due to the recent range increase, consider that the Dragoon is still excellent as an air defense unit. It is good against even the heavily armored air due to its high attack power. So, consider these things when you decide to include the Dragoon in your attacks. ----------------------------- 3.3.3. High Templar Produced at: Gateway Upgrades: Requires: Templar Archives Psionic Storm (special ability) (Organic ground unit) - Templar Archives Hallucination (special ability) - Templar Archives Khaydarin Amulet (+50 energy) - Templar Archives Ground Armor - Forge The High Templar is by far one of the most psychologically intimidating and damaging units in StarCraft. Hearing the familiar sound of a Psionic Storm or seeing one of these units crawl near your units will immediately grab you attention and wrath. A single Psionic Storm will be able to destroy any weak units almost immediately, and it will also do heavy damage to any slow moving (or Ensnared) unit in its path. So, the High Templar is a common sight in base defense and in Shuttles along the front lines. Special Abilities: - Psionic Storm Psionic Storm is an area effect spell that does approximately 125 damage to any unit if it remains in the area for the full duration. This will affect all flying and ground units in this area, and so it can destroy tightly packed groups of Mutalisks or Wraiths and it will most likely do heavy damage to other units if your opponent is not paying attention. So, you should try and use this spells as a surprise on worker units from a Shuttle, or keep a Templar in your base and keep a close eye on your map for enemy units. Each use expends 75 energy. - Hallucination Hallucination will make two copies of the unit you select. These copies will not retain any existing characteristics of your unit (such as cloaking), but it will otherwise still appear in every way to your opponents and allies as a natural unit. However, Hallucinations do no damage, take twice the damage, and disappear once special abilities are cast on them. So, use them on your more expensive units, such as Carriers, Reavers, or Arbiters. Each use expends 125 Energy. - Summon Archon This ability allows you to sacrifice two High Templar so that they will merge into the powerful Archon. It requires no researching and can be done immediately. A short summoning period will ensue, and the Archon will emerge. ----------------------------- 3.3.4. Archon Requires: Summon Archon, Upgrades: two High Templar Ground Weapons and Armor (Ground Psionic Entity) Ground attack: Normal splash - Forge Air attack: Normal splash The Protoss Archon is one of the most fearsome units in the game. It's Psionic Shockwave does plenty of damage and splashes surrounding units. Since it is a melee attack, the Archon is best against ground melee units and tightly packed air units. While they are quite costly in build time and resources due to the nature of their production, you may want to consider setting aside some crystals if you are in a long lasting game such as a free-for-all, since gas is easy to come by in long games such as those. Use the Archon against: Terran - Marine - Firebat (be very careful when there is a lot of them, they do full damage) - Goliath - Wraith - Valkyrie Zerg - Zergling - Mutalisk - Devourer - Guardian (Just watch for Ensnare and large groups of Guardians) Protoss - Zealot - Dark Templar (only when there are few) - Scout - Corsair Keep in mind that Archons use shields for nearly all of their hit points, so they are definitely not invincible. Large groups of Firebats, Vultures, and Dark Templar can easily slay Archons because they do so much damage to them. Also, special effects such as Ensnare and particularly EMP Shockwave can be devastating to these units. Since Archons are faster now, they may be able to hold their own against heavy ground strike units such as Siege Tanks, Lurkers, and Reavers. However, these units are not for breaking large blockades of such units. Air units are better for that task. ----------------------------- 3.3.5. Dark Templar Produced at: Gateway Upgrades: Requires: Templar Archives Ground Weapons and Armor (Organic ground unit) Ground attack: Normal - Forge The Dark Templar is a very heavy hitting stealth unit. Being permanently cloaked, it, along with the Lurker, has certainly prompted more cloak detection in bases. If you stay ahead on upgrades, these units can dispatch Marines and Zerglings in a single hit. This allows them to fare very well in melee battle. However, their primary purpose is just what they are designed for: to be a stealth unit. You can drop a few of these guys into the back or side of a base, and they will do heavy damage before they are taken down. They can also be used with some micromanagement in big battles to take out pesky Siege Tanks, Dragoons, or such. Use the Dark Templar against: Terran - Marine - Siege Tank - Goliath Zerg - Zergling - Hydralisk - Ultralisk [Note: While Dark Templar can easily beat anything but Lurkers in Zerg ground, this is mostly due to the fact that they are cloaked. Zerglings with adrenal glands or a good number of Ultralisks will easily take them down with detection.] Protoss - Zealot - Dragoon Keep in mind that Dark Templar are very weak when they are detected and will not last very long against anything. Remember most that they are not meant to replace Zealots in higher tech; in fact, the good hit point total of Zealots allow them to last far longer. So, keep an eye out for those detectors and destroy them accordingly. Special Ability: - Dark Archon Merge (?) Much like their High Templar brethren, two Dark Templar may merge to form a Dark Archon. Again, a short summoning period will ensue, and both Dark Templar will be lost in the process. Dark Archons are not cloaked. ----------------------------- 3.3.6. Dark Archon Requires: Dark Archon Merge, Upgrades: two Dark Templar Mind Control (special ability) (Ground psionic entity) - Templar Archives Maelstrom (special ability) - Templar Archives Argus Talisman (+50 energy) - Templar Archives Ground Armor - Forge The Dark Archon is a unit designed simply for special abilities. However, it performs very well in this regard. While it has no attacks, it has three very, very useful spells at your command, two of which must be researched. However, I've noticed that this unit is not used often or not very well. So, I will explain all of its special abilities and when they are useful. Special Abilities: - Feedback Feedback will do two things. First, it deals damage to the target unit equal to its current energy level. If the unit is not destroyed, then the target's energy will be reduced to zero. This can be extremely effective, particularly when you are constantly being pestered by Queens, Science Vessels, or High Templar. It can also be useful for defense, as this spell can usually destroy Medics and Wraiths. Feedback will also likely do plenty of damage to Battlecruisers, Corsairs, Arbiters, and other Dark Archons. Each use expends 50 energy. - Mind Control This spell does much like it says - the target of this spell will be under your control, permanently, even in the Dark Archon casting the spell is destroyed. You will receive any of the special upgrades (such as Yamato) that your opponent had with that unit. This can easily turn the tide of a battle if you control a heavy unit such as an Ultralisk, Battlecruiser, or Carrier. With this spell, you also have the possibility of controlling a Drone or SCV and building a Terran or Zerg settlement. While you might think that this gives an unfair advantage, think of it this way: it costs a lot of resources and time to build another settlement. If you can keep even with your opponent and build up another race, you would have won by pouring that resources and time into the actual battle. Since this is a powerful ability, it has a large cost - each use expends 150 energy and depletes your Dark Archon's shields. - Maelstrom This special ability will freeze any organic unit within its range for a short amount of time. Unlike Stasis Field, any unit caught in a Maelstrom can be attacked. So, this spell is very useful against Zerg units, particularly stacked air. I've killed 40 Mutalisks by using Maelstrom and Psionic Storm right after each other (seriously!). This spell can also save you against such attacks like Protoss melee, a large amount of Terran infantry, or a Zergling swarm. Each use expends 100 energy. ----------------------------- 3.3.7. Shuttle Produced at: Robotics Facility Upgrades: Requires: Robotics Facility Gravitic Drive (faster movement) (Mechanical air unit) - Robotics Support Bay Air Armor Upgrades - Cybernetics Core The Shuttle is almost exactly like the Terran Dropship, but with one important exception: it has a speed upgrade. This speed upgrade should be researched whenever possible, as it increases the Shuttle's movment rate significantly. Like the Dropship and Overlord, the Shuttle can ferry 8 slots of units. The Protoss breakdown is: Probe: 1 Zealot: 2 Dragoon: 4 High Templar: 2 Dark Templar: 2 Reaver: 4 Archon: 4 Dark Archon: 4 The Shuttle is relatively low-tech, so you will be able to sneak some drops in quickly. However, the higher tech Robotics Support Bay will makes the drops more likely to succeed, so plan your attacks accordingly. ----------------------------- 3.3.8. Reaver Produced at: Robotics Facility Upgrades: Requires: Robotics Support Bay Scarab Damage (+25 damage) (Mechanical ground unit) Ground attack: Normal splash - Robotics Support Bay (+5 Scarab capacity) - Robotics Support Bay Ground Armor Upgrades - Forge The Reaver is probably one of the most devastating units in StarCraft. No unit is more deadly to infantry or melee units than this one. To attack with the Reaver, you must fund production of Scarabs, which are the Reaver's attack weapon. Once released, the Scarab will travel to its target and detonate, causing 100 points of normal damage, which will splash onto surrounding enemy and ally units. This damage can be upgraded, as well as an upgrade in capacity from 5 to 10 Scarabs. The Reaver is slow-moving to counter its destructive potential, and it does not have as many hit points as you may like. However, Reavers are most commonly Recalled by Arbiters or ferried about in quick Shuttles. Use the Reaver against: Terran - Marine - Firebat - Vulture - Goliath Zerg - Zergling - Hydralisk - Lurker Protoss - Zealot - Dragoon (but not when there are a lot of them) - Dark Templar Ranged units such as stimpacked Marines, upgraded Hydralisks or upgraded Dragoons will be able to overcome your Reavers sooner than you think. However, Dragoons are the best off since it will take 2 Scarabs to destroy them, even after the damage upgrade. So, be prepared to either Recall your Reavers or put them into Shuttles, as they are too expensive to lose easily. ----------------------------- 3.3.9. Observer Produced at: Robotics Facility Upgrades: Requires: Observatory Sensor Array (Mechanical air unit) - Observatory Gravitic Boosters - Observatory Air Armor Upgrades - Cybernetics Core The Observer is probably the easiest recon unit to use. It remains cloaked, flies, and has a good movement and sight range when it is upgraded. You can easily leave these things all over the map, and they don't require a lot of resources to do so. You can tag them along on fleeing units to ambush them later, or you can leave them outside of your opponent's bases to see oncoming attacks. You can also leave them around expansion areas to strike your opponent when he is vulnerable and just building an expansion. However, do keep in mind that it does not take much to take one of these Observers down once they are detected. They can be destroyed with only a few hits if you wander too close to a base, or eliminated quickly by air patrols with their own detection. ----------------------------- 3.3.10. Scout Produced at: Stargate Upgrades: Requires: Stargate Apial Sensors (Mechanical air unit) Air attack: Explosive - Fleet Beacon Ground attack: Normal Gravitic Thrusters - Fleet Beacon Air Weapons and Armor Upgrades - Cybernetics Core The Scout is a rather powerful unit. It can take a lot of punishment, deal plenty of damage in the air, and can move quickly. However, the Gravitic Thrusters upgrade is quite necessary for the Scout to be useful. This upgrade will make the Scout much faster, and allows them to be useful in hit-and-run situations. The Scout is really an expensive unit, though. Since it does so little damage on the ground and due to its cost, it really should only be produced in situations where you need anti-air. Otherwise, you will want it to escort your Carriers or your ground units. Use the Scout against: Terran: - Firebat - Vulture - Wraith (You should have at least one Scout for every two Wraiths) - Battlecruiser Zerg: - Zergling - Ultralisk - Mutalisk - Guardian Protoss - Zealot - Dark Templar - Carrier Keep in mind that the Scout's best assets are its air attack and speed. You should definitely use it against the heavy air of all three races, the Battlecruiser, Guardian, and Carrier. It can hold its own against lone Devourers, but don't even think about fighting them if you see any Mutalisks. Also, Corsairs and Valkyries can definitely give them trouble. You probably want to keep a couple of Shield Batteries around to recharge the Scouts' shields after a battle, to get your money's worth out of them. ----------------------------- 3.3.11. Corsair Produced at: Stargate Upgrades: Requires: Stargate Disruption Web (special ability) (Air mechanical unit) Air attack: Explosive splash - Fleet Beacon Argus Jewel (+50 energy) - Fleet Beacon The Corsair is very similar to the Valkyrie in many ways. It is even better in some ways as well. It has no ground attack, but it has a very powerful air attack, especially when upgraded. The Corsair's attack does little damage, but it is very quick and has a small splash area. This does plenty of damage to any lightly armored air units, like the Mutalisk, Wraith, and Scout. You should probably keep an eye on your opponent's level of air armor when using the Corsair for attack. If your opponent sees you building a lot of Corsairs, he/she will likely go straight for full upgrades on armor. If you don't do the same with your air weapons, your attacks will be too little to really count. Special Ability: - Disruption Web One of the best abilities you can find in StarCraft is Disruption Web. When cast on the ground, it will nullify any attacks from any units (and base defense structures) inside the web. This web will last for a good amount of time, and if you have enough Corsairs, you can disable a base with a little micromanagement. When the Argus Jewel upgrade is researched, you can use this ability twice per Corsair. Each use expends 125 energy. ----------------------------- 3.3.12. Carrier Produced at: Stargate Upgrade: Requires: Fleet Beacon (+4 Interceptors) (Mechanical air unit) Air attack: Normal - Fleet Beacon Ground attack: Normal Air Weapon and Armor Upgrades - Cybernetics Core The Carrier is a very strong air unit. It can take plenty of punishment while dishing out plenty of damage when upgraded. Like the Reaver, you must produce fighting robotic drones known as Interceptors to attack with. These Interceptors are released from the Carrier, attacking your air and ground targets (and causing a lot of confusion on the screen). You do not have to produce more Interceptors unless they are destroyed. Like the Corsair, the Interceptor does not do much damage, but the sheer number of them will do plenty of damage to your target. So, upgrading your weapons will benefit your Carriers greatly. Use the Carrier against: Terran: - Firebat - Vulture - Siege Tank - Valkyrie Zerg: - Zergling - Ultralisk - Mutalisk - Guardian Protoss: - Zealot - Dark Templar - Reaver - Corsair The Carrier is probably best to use on small groups of large units due to the nature of the attack patterns the Interceptors use. It could take you a while to kill a large number of Marines or Hydralisks depending how many Carriers you have. In such cases, use Attack+Move and do not select specific units. ----------------------------- 3.3.13. Arbiters Produced at: Stargate Upgrades: Requires: Arbiter Tribunal Recall (special ability) (Mechanical air unit) Air attack: Explosive - Arbiter Tribunal Ground attack: Explosive Stasis Field (special ability) - Arbiter Tribunal Khaydarin Core (+50 energy) - Arbiter Tribunal Air Weapons and Armor Upgrades - Cybernetics Core The Arbiter has several very useful purposes. Most notably, the Arbiter can cloak any of your units surrounding it, whether they are in the air or on the ground. Of course, this makes any Arbiter subject to heavy attack, so it can take quite a bit of damage as well. Also, the cost, building time, and high technology required by the Arbiter makes it unlikely that you can produce many, so you may want to Hallucinate them. The Arbiter also has a small attack, but it has too long of a cooldown time to be very useful. However, the Arbiter has two very useful special abilities as well. Special Abilities: - Recall Recall is a trans-dimensional transport system. Using this special ability will allow you to summon a group of units anywhere on the map to directly under your Arbiter. These units can be on the air or ground. Since the target area of Recall has a large effect range, you can pack quite a few units tightly together and place them directly into battle with your Arbiter. Each use of Recall expends 150 energy. - Stasis Field Stasis Field has a variety of purposes. It will freeze any friendly or enemy units in the effect range for an extended period of time. When a unit is in stasis, it can't be targeted or attacked in any way. So, you can use it to freeze half of your opponent's attack force to make it easier on your own units (and destroy the frozen units later), or you can freeze your units losing in battle so that you can send reinforcements later. Each use expends 100 energy. ----------------------------- 3.3.14. Shield Batteries Requires: Gateway The Shield Battery is a rather neglected building for the Protoss. It is most commonly used to recharge the shields of quick air units such as Corsairs and Scouts, and also heavily shielded units like the Archons. However, it can save you early on as well. You may be losing a battle with Zealots and Dragoons, and a couple of Shield Batteries can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Of course, you should always keep a few around the map to recharge any quick units that have been in battle, such as your Scouts. Remember that your shields often save your warriors in battle, so you should replenish them when possible if another battle is impending. Remember that Shield Batteries can only recharge the shields of units and not buildings. ----------------------------- 3.3.15. Photon Cannons Requires: Forge Air Attack: Normal Ground Attack: Normal The Photon Cannon is definitely the most versatile defense structure there is. It can be built anywhere where there is a pylon and forgotten. It can attack air and ground units and structures, delivering plenty of damage in doing so. Since the Cannon can be placed virtually anywhere, you will often see them around enemy bases, in various chokepoints, and so forth. Some Protoss players have Forge before Gateway in their build order so that they can seal their opponents in with Photon Cannons. This is one of the reasons why early recon is important; you can prepare for offensive cannons by getting this information. Since they are also detectors, Ghosts and other cloaked units have a tough time getting around them, especially if you have Observers in backup. Considering the cost of the rest of the Protoss units, you should definitely build plenty of Cannons around for defense and cloak detection. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Original work ©1998-2000, 2003. All Rights Reserved. All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their respective trademark and copyright holders.